Food Politics (What Everyone Needs to Know)
The politics of food is changing fast. In rich countries, obesity is now a more serious problem than hunger. Consumers once satisfied with cheap and convenient food now want food that is also safe, nutritious, fresh, and grown by local farmers using fewer chemicals. Heavily subsidized and underregulated commercial farmers are facing stronger push back from environmentalists and consumer activists, and food companies are under the microscope. Meanwhile, agricultural success in Asia has spurred income growth and dietary enrichment, but agricultural failure in Africa has left one-third of all citizens undernourished – and the international markets that link these diverse regions together are subject to sudden disruption.
Food Politics carefully examines and explains the most important issues on today’s global food landscape, including international food prices, famines, chronic hunger, the Malthusian race between food production and population growth, international food aid, “green revolution” farming, obesity, farm subsidies and trade, agriculture and the environment, agribusiness, supermarkets, food safety, fast food, slow food, organic food, local food, and genetically engineered food.
Politics in each of these areas has become polarized over the past decade by conflicting claims and accusations from advocates on all sides. Paarlberg’s book maps this contested terrain, challenging myths and critiquing more than a few of today’s fashionable beliefs about farming and food. For those ready to have their thinking about food politics informed and also challenged, this is the book to read.
The struggle over how the losses and gains from state action are allocated in the food and farming sector is what we shall call food politics.
Thinking globally is generally good advice in sectors like finance or when working on problems such as climate change, but for the politics of food and agriculture, it is often more useful to think nationally or even locally.
livestock are now responsible for 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than for transport.
The best approach is usually to combine agroecological insights with green revolution seeds and off-farm inputs.
Africa is failing to keep up with population growth not because it has exhausted its potential but instead because too little has been invested in developing that potential.
Typically in Africa today, governments spend only about 5 percent of their budget on any kind of agricultural investments, even though 60 percent of their citizens depend on the farming sector for income and employment.
roughly 65 percent of America’s food aid spending is eaten up by administrative and transport costs.
If biofuels demand had been the leading driver in the 2008 food price spike, corn prices would have risen more sharply than wheat or rice, yet corn rose less sharply than either.
Increasing the productivity of farm labor typically requires the introduction of new technologies such as improved seeds, fertilizers, and machinery. It also requires government investment in basic rural public goods such as roads and electricity.
The world does face a serious food crisis, but the best way to judge the magnitude of the crisis is to measure actual hunger rather than price fluctuations on the world market. This is because most of the world’s genuinely hungry people do not get their food from the world market.
Paradoxically and perversely, a majority of all these poor and hungry people in the developing world are farmers or pastoralists—people engaged in producing food. It is the low productivity of farming and animal grazing among the rural poor that is the chief cause of their chronic poverty, and it is their poverty that is the chief cause of their undernutrition.
About the Author
Robert Paarlberg is the B.F. Johnson Professor of Political Science at Wellesley College and Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. A leading authority on food policy, his books include Starved for Science, Policy Reform in American Agriculture, and Fixing Farm Trade.
Table of Contents:
Chapter One: An Overview of Food Politics
Chapter Two: Food Production and Population Growth
Chapter Three: The Politics of High Food Prices
Chapter Four: The Politics of Chronic Hunger
Chapter Five: The Politics of Famine
Chapter Six: The Green Revolution Controversy
Chapter Seven: Food Aid and Food Power
Chapter Eight: The Politics of Obesity
Chapter Nine: The Politics of Farm Subsidies and Trade
Chapter Ten: Agriculture, the Environment, and Farm Animals
Chapter Eleven: Agribusiness, Supermarkets, and Fast Food
Chapter Twelve: Organic and Local Food
Chapter Thirteen: Food Safety and Genetically Engineered Food
Chapter Fourteen: Who Governs the World Food System?
List of Acronyms Used in Book
Suggestions for Further Reading
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Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Almond Board of California
American Assoc. of Candy Technologists
American Assoc. of Cereal Chemists
American Assoc. of Meat Processors
American Bakers Assoc.
American Cheese Society
American Chemical Society
American Correctional Food Service Assoc.
American Dairy Products Institute, 312/782-4888
American Dairy Science Assoc.
American Dietetic Assoc.
American Egg Board
American Frozen Food Institute
American Institute of Baking
American Institute of Wine & Food, 415/255-3000
American Meat Institute
American Meat Science Assoc.
American Mushroom Institute
American Oil Chemists Society
American Peanut Council, 703/838-9500
American School Foodservice Assoc.
American Shrimp Processors Assoc., 504/368-1571
American Society of Baking
American Society of Brewing Chemists
American Soybean Assoc.
American Spice Trade Assoc.
American Sugar Alliance
American Sugar Beet Growers Assoc.
American Wholesale Marketers Assoc.
Apple Processors Assoc.
Apricot Producers of California
Aseptic Packaging Council
Assoc. for Dressings & Sauces
Assoc. of Food & Drug Officials
Assoc. of Sales & Marketing Companies
Bakery Industry Sanitation Standards Committee, 773/274-3242
Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers Assoc.
California Avocado Commission
California Date Administrative Committee
California Egg Commission
California Fig Advisory Board
California Pistachio Commission
California Prune Board
California Strawberry Commission
Cheese Importers Assoc. of America,212/753-7500
Cherry Marketing Institute Inc.
Chilled Foods Assoc., 404/252-3663
Chocolate Manufacturers Assoc. of the U.S.A.
Closure Manufacturers Assoc.
Composite Can & Tube Institute
Cookie & Snack Bakers Assoc., 423/472-1561
Corn Refiners Assoc. Inc.
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Cranberry Institute, 508/295-4132
Flavor & Extract Manufacturing Assoc., 202/293-5800
Flexible Packaging Assoc.
Florida Fruit & Vegetable Assoc.
Florida Tomato Committee
The Food & Drug Law Institute
Food Distributors International
Food Executives International Foundation, 301/469-8716
Food Ingredient Distributors Assoc., 219/432-3033
Food Marketing Institute
Food Processing Machinery & Supplies Assoc.
Food Processors Institute
Foodservice and Packaging Institute
Idaho-Eastern Oregon Onions
Idaho Potato Commission
Independent Bakers Assoc.
Institute of Food Technologists
Institute of Packaging Professionals
Institute of Shortening & Edible Oils Inc.
International Assoc. of Food Industry Suppliers
International Assoc. for Food Protection
International Bottled Water Assoc.
International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Assoc.
International Dairy Foods Assoc.
International Food Additives Council
International Food Information Council
International Foodservice Manufacturers Assoc.
International Ice Cream Assoc.
International Jelly & Preserve Assoc.
International Society of Beverage Technologists
National Assoc. for the Specialty Food Trade
National Assoc. of Beverage Importers
National Assoc. of Fruits, Flavors & Syrups
National Assoc. of Margarine Manufacturers
National Assoc. of Wholesaler-Distributors, 202/872-0885
National Beer Wholesalers Assoc., 703/683-4300
National Beverage Packaging Assoc.
National Chicken Council
National Cattlemen’s Beef Assoc.
National Cheese Institute
National Coffee Assoc.
National Confectioners Assoc.
National Corn Growers Assoc.
National Cottonseed Products Assoc.
National Fisheries Institute
National Food Distributors Assoc.
National Food Processors Assoc.
National Frozen Food Assoc.
National Frozen Pizza Institute, 703/821-0770
National Grocers Assoc., 703/437-5300
National Honey Board
National Ice Cream & Yogurt Retailers Assoc. Inc.
National Institute of Oilseed Products
National Juice Products Assoc.
National Meat Assoc.
National Meat Canners Assoc., 703/841-3680
National Milk Producers Federation
National Nutritional Foods Assoc.
National Oilseed Processors Assoc.
National Paperbox Assoc.
National Pasta Assoc.
National Pecan Shellers Assoc.
National Pork Producers Council
National Potato Council
National Prepared Food Assoc.
National Restaurant Assoc.
National Soft Drink Assoc.
National Sunflower Assoc.
National Turkey Federation
National Watermelon Assoc., 912/775-2130
National Yogurt Assoc.
North American Blueberry Council
North American Meat Processors Assoc.
North American Millers’ Assoc., 202/484-2200
Northeast Fresh Foods Alliance, 617/963-9726
Northwest Food Processors Assoc.
Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI)
Paperboard Packaging Council
Peanut & Tree Nut Processors Assoc.
Peanut Advisory Board
The Peanut Institute Inc.
Pear Bureau Northwest
Pet Food Institute
Plastics Institute of America Inc.
Private Label Manufacturers Assoc.
Processed Apples Institute
Produce Marketing Assoc.
- AACC International
- International organization whose members are specialists in the…
- American Cheese Society
- The American Cheese Society (ACS) was founded in 1982 and has grown to include approximately 1,200 members. The Society’s membership …
- Farmers’ Rice Cooperative
- Grower-owned rice marketing cooperative.
- Agriculture Council of America
- Dedicated to increasing the public awareness of agriculture’s vital role in our society.
- Almond Board of California
- Promotes the best quality almonds, tracks almond industry statistics…
- American Association of Candy Technologists
- Professional group dedicated to the advancement of the confectionery industry.
- American Association of Meat Processors
- North America’s largest meat trade organization.
- American Bakers Association
- National trade organization for baking industry since 1897.
- American Dairy Products Institute
- National trade organization of the processed dairy products industry.
- American Dairy Science Association
- Organization of people who are committed to advancing the dairy industry…
- American Egg Board
- The American Egg Board (AEB) is the U.S. egg producer’s link to consumers in communicating the value of the incredible egg…
- American Farm Bureau
- Farm Bureau is an independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization governed by and representing farm and ranch families….
- American Feed Industry Association
- Works for the Feed and Pet Food Industry.AFIA closely monitors and influences…
- American Frozen Food Institute
- The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) is the national trade association that promotes the interests of all segments…
- American Institute of Baking
- AIB provides Food Safety Inspections, Audits, and Certifications, Food Safety Education…
- American Malting Barley Association, Inc
- The American Malting Barley Association, Inc. (AMBA) Mission is to encourage and support production…
- American Meat Institute
- The American Meat Institute (AMI) is the nation’s oldest and largest meat and poultry trade association…
- American Meat Science Association
- Professional society that provides a forum for all interests in the meat industry.
- American Mushroom Institute
- The American Mushroom Institute (AMI) is a national voluntary trade association representing the growers, processors…
- American Peanut Shellers Association
- The primary purpose of the American Peanut Shellers Association is to promote the common interests of those engaged in the peanut shelling…
- American Pie Council
- The American Pie Council® (APC) is the only organization committed to preserving America’s pie heritage…
- American Protein Producers Industry
- The Animal Protein Producers Industry (APPI) is a non-profit industry corporation…
- American Seed Trade Association
- From alfalfa to zucchini and all the agronomic crops in between, the American Seed Trade Association…
- American Society of Agricultural Engineers
- Dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems.
- American Society of Bakery Engineers
- The American Society of Baking is a professional organization that brings together individuals in the grain-based food…
- American Society of Brewing Chemists
- The American Society of Brewing Chemists was founded in 1934 to improve and bring uniformity to the brewing industry…
- American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists
- THE AMERICAN SOCIETY OF SUGAR CANE TECHNOLOGISTS (ASSCT) is a society interested in the general study of the cane sugar…
- American Soybean Association
- For the past 90 years, the American Soybean Association has met the demands of a growing world…
- American Spice Trade Association
- The American Spice Trade Association is a trade association that represents the U.S. spice industry…
- American Sugar Alliance
- The American Sugar Alliance is a national coalition of sugarcane and sugarbeet farmers, processors, refiners, suppliers…
- American Sugar Cane League
- Representing Louisiana’s sugar cane growers and processors.
- American Sugarbeet Growers Association
- Trade association in representing domestic sugarbeet growers in 13 states.
- American Wholesale Marketers Association
- The American Wholesale Marketers Association (AWMA) is the only international trade organization…
- Apricot Producers of California
- Dedicated to California’s apricot industry.
- Association for Dressings and Sauces
- Since 1926, ADS has made this their creed by working together with members on government and technical issues and consumer awareness…
- Association of Food Industries
- Trade association serving the food import trade.
- Association of Fruit and Vegetable Inspection
- Comprised of inspection programs responsible for the shipping point inspection…
- Baking Industry Sanitation Standards Committee
- Formed to develop voluntary sanitation standards for the design & construction of bakery equipment.
- Beer Institute
- Beer Institute was organized in 1986 to represent the industry before Congress, state legislatures…
- Beer Institute Online
- Beer Institute was organized in 1986 to represent the industry before Congress, state legislatures…
- Beet Sugar Development Foundation
- Supplying Research & Development and Educational Programs to the Beet Sugar Industry.
- Beverage Marketing Corporation
- Provides market research, publishing, mergers and acquisition consulting to beverage industry.
- Biscuits & Crackers Manufacturing Association
- The B&CMA is a 109 year old international trade organization representing the entire spectrum of companies…
- Bread Bakers Guild of America
- Promotes interaction & exchange of information between artisan bakers…
- Brewers’ Association
- The Brewers Association is an organization of brewers, for brewers and by brewers. More than 1,000 US brewery members…
- California Avocado Commission
- Resource for the California Avocado industry.
- Can Manufacturers Institute
- Represents the industry before Congress, the Administration, and state governments.
- Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology
- Members are scientists & technologists in industry, government & academia who are committed to advancing food science & technology.
- Cherry Marketing Institute
- National promotion organization for tart cherries.
- Corn Refiners Association
- Based in Washington, D.C., the Corn Refiners Association is the national trade association representing the corn refining…
- Council for Responsible Nutrition
- The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973 and based in Washington, D.C…
- Cranberry Institute
- The Cranberry Institute is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1951 to further the success of cranberry growers…
- Dairy Management
- Helps build demand for dairy and is dedicated to the success of the dairy industry.
- Our web-based dairy supply chain collaboration, dairy transportation, and dairy commodity trading solutions…
- Distilled Spirits Council of the USA
- The Distilled Spirits Council is the national trade association representing America’s leading distillers…
- Eastern Perishable Products Association
- Serves the perishable products industry.
- Fats and Protein Research Foundation
- The Fats and Proteins Research Foundation was organized in 1962 to serve…
- Food & Drug Law Institute
- Dedicated to improving the understanding of the laws, regulations, and policies affecting healthcare technologies, food and cosmetics.
- Food Industry Suppliers Association
- Distributor-led trade association representing food industry suppliers.
- Food Ingredient Distribution Association
- Association to increase the value of food ingredient distribution services.
- Food Institute
- Provides specialized services for companies or trade organizations.
- Food Processors of Canada
- Food Processors of Canada (FPC) is an internationally respected business association serving food industry…
- Grain Net
- Information for the Grain, Milling, Feed & Seed Industries.
- Grocery Manufacturers of America
- Association of grocery manufacturers, retailers, distributors, clubs, etc.
- Grocery Manufacturers of America
- GMA represents the world’s leading branded food, beverage and consumer products companies. GMA member companies…
- Hop Growers of America
- Hop Growers of America is a non-profit association that represents and promotes the interests of U.S…
- Independent Professional Seedsmen Association
- Promoting opportunities appropriate to family-owned seed companies.
- Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
- Promotes family farms, rural communities and ecosystems around the world through research, education, science, technology, and advocacy.
- Institute of Food Technologists
- Clearing house of info for scientific applications related to foods and food products.
- Institute of Packaging Professionals
- National organization of packaging professionals.
- Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils
- Resources relating to the edible fats and oils industry.
- Interbev Ltd.
- Allows access to all the new products & technologies (for all beverages) to help…
- International Association for Food Protection
- Association of food safety professionals.
- International Bottled Water Association
- Trade association representing the bottled water industry.
- International Dairy Foods Association
- Represents more than 500 dairy food manufacturers, marketers, distributors…
- International Dairy·Deli·Bakery Association
- Reflects the changing scope of member needs in the dairy, deli, bakery and related industries.
- International Food Information Council
- IFIC’s mission is to communicate science-based information on food safety and nutrition.
- International Society of Beverage Technologists
- Organization whose interest is the technical and scientific aspects of soft drinks and beverages.
- Master Brewers Association of the Americas
- Leading technical organization in the brewing industry.
- Meat Marketing & Technology
- Magazine dedicated solely to the U.S./Canadian meat processing industry.
- Midwest Food Processors Association
- Foremost legislative voice of the food processing industry in the Midwest.
- Milk Industry Foundation
- Represent processors’ and manufacturers’ concerns facing the milk industry.
- Mushroom Council
- Created to serve the Mushroom Industry.
- The Public Health and Safety Company. Food industry health, safety and audit specialists.
- Nat’l Assoc. of Flavors & Food-Ingredient Systems
- Association of processors and suppliers of fruits, flavors, syrups, colors, sweeteners, cocoa and related food ingredients.
- National Association for the Specialty Food Trade
- The National Association for the Specialty Food Trade is a not-for-profit…
- National Association of Flavors and Food
- Association of manufacturers, processors and suppliers of fruits, flavors, syrups, and related food ingredients.
- National Association of Margarine Manufacturers
- Association serving health conscious consumers and the margarine industry.
- National Association of Wheat Growers
- Partnership of U.S. wheat growers who are working for a better future for their industry and the public.
- National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors
- Trade association that represents the wholesale distribution industry.
- National Beer Wholesalers Association
- Represents more than 2,300 licensed independent beer wholesalers.
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
- Association for America’s cattle farmers and ranchers.
- National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation
- The National Cherry Growers and Industries Foundation (commonly called simply as NCGIF) is a nonprofit corporation…
- National Coffee Association
- Comprised of coffee producers, exporters, importers, roasters, wholesalers/distributors…
- National Coffee Association of USA
- The first trade association for the U.S. coffee industry.
- National Confectioners Association (NCA)
- National Trade Association dedicated to promoting/protecting the confectionery industry.
- National Corn Growers Association
- Federation which develops and implements polices and programs to protect and advance the corn producer’s interests.
- National Cottonseed Products Association
- Organization engaged in the processing & marketing of cottonseed products.
- National Country Ham Association
- Represents the interests of Country Ham Producers nationwide.
- National Frozen Foods Association
- Promote sales of frozen foods through education, training, research and sales planning.
- National Grain Sorghum Producers
- Organization representing U.S. grain sorghum farmers nationwide.
- National Grain and Feed Association
- Association that represents and provides services for grain, feed and grain-related commercial businesses.
- National Honey Board
- The National Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that conducts research…
- National Institute of Oilseed Products
- Association promoting the use of vegetable oils and raw materials.
- National Meat Association
- Advocating the interests of the meat industry since 1946.
- National Milk Producers Federation
- Primary national representative of dairy producers which directly lobbies Congress.
- National Nutritional Foods Association
- Represents the interests of manufacturers and retailers of a wide variety of natural products.
- National Oilseed Processors Association
- Organization representing the soybean, sunflower, canola, flaxseed and safflower seed crushing industries.
- National Onion Association
- The Voice of the Onion Industry.
- National Pasta Association
- The NPA is the trade association for U.S. pasta manufacturers and related suppliers.
- National Pecan Shellers Assoc.
- Focuses on the Pecan industry.
- National Pork Board
- National Pork Board.
- National Pork Producers Council
- Conducts public policy outreach on behalf of its 44 affiliated state association members.
- National Potato Council
- Association working for the well being of the U.S. potato industry on governmental issues.
- National Poultry and Food Distributors Association
- Provide services to poultry processors, further processors, distributors and marketers.
- National Renderers Association
- Members of this association are all in the business of rendering, i.e. transforming…
- National Turkey Federation
- National advocate for all segments of the turkey industry.
- National Yogurt Association
- Official resource for yogurt information.
- North American Blueberry Council
- Organization of members in the highbush blueberry industry.
- North American Meat Processors Association
- Serves the needs of its members through services and educational programs, meetings and seminars.
- North American Millers’ Association
- Trade association of the wheat, corn, oat and rye milling industry.
- Northern Nut Growers Association
- Brings together people interested in growing nut trees.
- Northwest Food Processors Association
- Regional trade association for the fruit and vegetable processing industry since 1914.
- Organic Trade Association
- The Organic Trade Association (OTA) is the membership-based business association for the organic industry…
- Pacific Northwest Grain & Feed Assoc.
- Serves the needs of firms involved with grain, feed, and other agricultural commodities within the Pacific Northwest.
- Peanut & Tree Nut Processors Assoc.
- Provides a forum for processors, manufacturers, & suppliers of peanuts, tree nuts, and related products.
- Peanut Advisory Board
- Association representing peanut farmers in Georgia, Alabama and Florida.
- Peanut Institute
- Dedicated to expanding state-of-the-art knowledge regarding peanuts and peanut products.
- Pet Food Institute
- National Trade Association of dog and cat food manufacturers.
- Pickle Packers International
- Association for the pickled vegetable industry.
- Private Label Manufacturers Association
- Represents more than 3,200 companies around the world.
- Produce Marketing Association
- Trade association serving those who market fresh fruits, vegetables, and related products worldwide.
- R&D Associates for Military Food & Packaging
- Provides the safest and highest quality food and food service to the U.S. Armed Forces.
- Refrigerated Foods Association
- Goal is to become the principal association for prepared refrigeration food companies.
- Salt Institute
- Association of salt producers founded in 1914.
- Snack Food Association
- The Snack Food Association (SFA) is the international trade association of the snack food industry representing snack..
- Society of Human Resource Managment (SHRM)
- The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management…
- Southwest Meat Association
- Created to give support to its members by initiating opportunities & resolving problems.
- Soy Protein Council
- Formed to discuss and act on common issues of concern to the soy industry.
- Sugar Association
- Educates consumer and professional audiences about pure, natural sugar.
- Tea Association
- Association to protect the interests of the tea trade in the United States.
- Tortilla Industry Association
- The Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) was created in 1989 to serve the emerging tortilla industry…
- U.S. Dairy Export Council
- Represents the interests of milk producers, dairy cooperatives, proprietary processors, export traders and industry suppliers.
- U.S. Grains Council
- Building global markets for U.S. grains.
- U.S. Meat Export Federation
- Working to create opportunities & develop existing international markets for U.S. beef, pork, lamb and veal.
- U.S. Poultry & Egg Association
- World’s largest and most active poultry organization.
- U.S. Wheat Associates
- Develops export markets on behalf of American wheat farmers.
- USA Rice Federation
- Promotes the domestic and international demand for rice.
- United Egg Association
- Alliance of four separate organizations providing services to the egg industry.
- United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association
- Promotes the growth and success of produce companies and their partners.
- United Soybean Board
- Link to subscribe to USB’s Publications!
- Virginia Apple Growers Association
- Virginia’s Red and Golden Delicious varieties are the all-time favorites…
- Walnut Marketing Board
- Promotes usage of walnuts in the U.S. through publicity, product promotions and production research & education programs.
- Washington State Potatoes
- State association to promote potato growers and suppliers.
- Western Growers Association
- Trade association whose members grow, pack, and ship 90 percent of the fresh vegetables in California and Arizona.
- Wheat Foods Council
- The Wheat Foods Council is an industry-wide partnership dedicated to increasing wheat and other grain foods…
- Wheat Quality Council
- Goal is to enhance the milling and end-use qualities of wheat in the United States.
- Wine Institute
- The public policy advocacy association of California wineries.
- Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc
- National trade organization representing the wholesale branch of the wine and spirits industry.