Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Food Dialogues: Was It Good For You?

In the aftermath of "Food Dialogues" convened by the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), a new trade alliance made up of some of Big Ag's heaviest hitters including Monsanto, DuPont and the National Cattleman's Beef Association, Civil Eats discusses why the mission and membership of this industry association matters.
Take a look at the policy priorities of USFRA members and you’ll see exactly that: Most of its affiliates are hard at work, lobbying on Capitol Hill to weaken the very regulations that the consumers the USFRA itself surveyed say they care most about: Pesticides and antibiotics, for instance, as well as artificial hormones in animal production, and air and water pollution.

As one of its current policy priorities, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a USFRA board member and the marketing organization and trade association for the beef industry, is fighting for the Defending America’s Affordable Energy and Jobs Act. If passed, the Act would limit the EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

Yet, as many in the environmental community have pointed out, the EPA’s regulation of carbon dioxide pollution is key to addressing global warming in the absence of strong climate policy. This USFRA member attack on climate legislation shouldn’t be surprising considering the Alliance is working with Frank Luntz, the political strategist who has helped foster climate change skepticism. In a strategy memo leaked to the media in the early 2000s, for instance, Luntz advised Congressional Republicans that the best tactic to undermine public support for climate legislation is to cast doubt on the “scientific certainty” surrounding the issue.

It should come as no surprise that the "dialogues" in the event hosted simultaneously in Washington D.C., New York City, U.C. Davis, and Fair Oaks, Indiana were staged and one way.

How can that be good for those of us who want real food?
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