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Beverage Industry Pledges to Reduce Americans’ Drink Calories, CRS Insights (October 6, 2014)

October 20, 2014 Comments off

Beverage Industry Pledges to Reduce Americans’ Drink Calories, CRS Insights (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Obesity rates in the United States remain high, with roughly two-thirds of adults and one-third of children overweight or obese. The estimated annual health care costs of obesity-related illness are approaching $200 billion, and this has been characterized as the first generation of children who may not outlive their parents.

Congress and the Obama Administration have shown a strong interest in developing policies to address the obesity epidemic. Various legislative, regulatory, and industry initiatives have been proposed, including efforts targeting sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. The term “sugar-sweetened beverages” refers to drinks sweetened with sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, or other caloric sweeteners. They are considered a source of “empty” calories and have been implicated as a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic. Although there is no recommended amount for sugar intake, the World Health Organization proposes that sugars should comprise less than 10% of daily calories. A single 12 ounce can of soda provides up to 10 teaspoons of sugar, and sugary soft drinks account for 6% of daily calorie intake among Americans.

At a recent meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, leading beverage companies pledged to reduce the number of sugar-sweetened drink calories consumed by Americans by 20% by 2025. Coca-Cola, Dr. Pepper, Snapple, PepsiCo, and the American Beverage Association are teaming up with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity.

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New From the GAO

October 16, 2014 Comments off

New GAO Reports
Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Climate Change: USDA’s Ongoing Efforts Can Be Enhanced with Better Metrics and More Relevant Information for Farmers. GAO-14-755, September 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-14-755
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/665809.pdf

2. Specialty Metals: DOD Dissemination of National Security Waiver Information Could Enhance Awareness and Compliance with Restrictions. GAO-15-133, October 16.
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-133
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/666533.pdf

Global Drivers of Agricultural Demand and Supply

October 16, 2014 Comments off

Global Drivers of Agricultural Demand and Supply
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This report explores the potential for global agricultural production to 2050, using a model-based analysis that incorporates the key drivers of agricultural production: population, per capita income, and changes in agricultural productivity.

Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Corn Farms, Including Organic, 2010

October 14, 2014 Comments off

Characteristics and Production Costs of U.S. Corn Farms, Including Organic, 2010
Source: USDA Economic Research Service

This study examines U.S. corn farms in 2010, their production costs and practices, and farm and operator characteristics by various corn producer groups. In addition, corn production in 2010 and 2001 are compared to view the effects of the changing U.S. corn market.

UK — Establishing food standards for NHS hospitals

October 14, 2014 Comments off

Establishing food standards for NHS hospitals
Source: Department of Health

The report looks at standards relating to patient nutrition and hydration, healthier eating across hospitals and sustainable food and catering services.

NHS adoption of the recommended standards will be required through the NHS contract meaning that hospitals will have a legal duty to comply with the recommendations.

The panel, set up by Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter and led by Dianne Jeffrey from Age UK, examined existing food standards, advising on how they should be applied and monitored.

Report debunks Canadians’ misconceptions about agriculture

October 10, 2014 Comments off

Report debunks Canadians’ misconceptions about agriculture
Source: Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Farming in Canada isn’t what many Canadians think. CFIB’s report, Realities of Agriculture in Canada – A sector of innovation and growth, debunks Canadians’ misconceptions about agriculture.

According to a recent study commissioned by the federal government, Canadians have many misconceptions about the agriculture industry, including that it’s not innovative, is shrinking, it potentially harms the environment, and that family farms are becoming extinct. Our new report, which debunks these misconceptions, is based on data collected from CFIB farm members who participated in our The State of Canadian Agriculture Survey.

Results show that, in fact, the majority of farmers – 51% – plan to adopt new, innovative technologies over the next three years, and 44% are planning to expand their business.

Casting the Net: A More Efficient Approach to U.S. Fisheries Management

October 6, 2014 Comments off

Casting the Net: A More Efficient Approach to U.S. Fisheries Management
Source: Hamilton Project (Brookings Institution)

The fishing industry contributes about $90 billion annually to the U.S. economy, through commercial fishing, charter boat companies, manufacturers of fishing equipment, and more. This translates into over one and a half million jobs for American workers. In many cases, however, current management practices lead to inefficient fishing practices that threaten both the ecological and economic sustainability of U.S. fisheries.

On September 10th, The Hamilton Project hosted a forum to discuss new opportunities for improving the economic prosperity and long-term sustainability of the U.S. fishing industry. The forum opened with remarks by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert E. Rubin.

The Project released an economic overview of the U.S. fishing industry, and a new paper by economist Christopher Costello of UC Santa Barbara proposing amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requiring that fisheries meeting certain criteria be required to undertake a comparison of the economic, social, and ecological trade-offs between status quo management and alternative management structures, including catch shares.

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