“State of the Plate” Examines the First Year of the Trump Administration’s Impact on Food

by James Rose

Published: 2/05/18, Last updated: 5/23/19

A new annual analysis, State of the Plate, was released to examine the Trump administration’s actions to reshape food policy. The snapshot analysis, launched by the Food Policy Action Education Fund (FPA-ED), highlights 22 different ways that the administration’s regulatory rollbacks and executive actions have impacted the entire food system.

The Administration Overturned Rules, Policies and Regulatory Tools

A briefing held on Monday on Capitol Hill discussed the report’s findings with a panel of experts and explored how the executive branch can influence food policy through political appointments, executive orders and regulatory reform. Monica Mills, Executive Director of FPA-ED, said of the Trump administration’s first year: “In one year, this administration has systematically overturned rules, policies, and regulatory tools. That is what this analysis covers and what we’re discussing today.”

The State of the Plate analysis looked at three main themes:

  • Nutrition and Health: FPA-ED reported that federal actions have rolled back nutrition standards, threatened to cut funding for food assistance programs and delayed labeling requirements.
  • Healthier Farming and Fishing: Rules to improve standards for humane treatment of animals were withdrawn by the administration while certain pollution safeguards for soil, water and oceans were eliminated. The EPA reversed a ban on a pesticide that affects brain development in children.
  • Fairness and Competition: FPA-ED also noted that the USDA withdrew rules to protect small poultry growers from unfair practices when competing with large companies and that the EPA delayed a new rule that would protect workers from pesticide exposure. Immigrant farm workers face an uncertain future due to immigration crackdowns.

The Executive Branch Had a Huge Impact on the Food System

The rollbacks, delays and reversals by the executive branch have made a big impact on food policy in the first year of the administration. Mills notes that “[t]his year provided numerous examples of the executive branch having a huge impact on the food system and the lawmaking behind it. This Administration’s regulatory rollbacks, political appointments and executive orders have affected everyone within our food system — from workers to producers to consumers.”

A Facebook Live recording of the panel presentation at the launch can be viewed here.

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