White House Food Commitment

The Lempert Report
October 05, 2022

Phil: But onto healthier and better things. The White House announced more than 8 billion in new commitments as part of the call to action for the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health. I'm very excited about this. I I really think that the Biden administration is doing something really cool. Something like this hasn't happened since the Nixon administration, when he had a conference on food and nutrition. They've raised this $8 billion, 2.5 is gonna be invested in startup companies that are pioneering solutions for hunger and food insecurity. Over 4 billion is gonna be dedicated towards philanthropy that improves access to nutritious food, promotes healthy choices, and increases physical activity. This comes on the heels of the FDA just a couple days before the conference coming out with the fact that they're going to re-designate the word healthy. 

Phil: There's been a lot of controversy about healthy certain products can't be called healthy by law. Nuts, salmon, avocados, olive oil, water, it's ineligible the way the law is written now. But, you know, you could put the word "healthy" on low-fat yogurts that have a lot of added sugar in it, you know, breakfast cereals with a lot of sugar. So it's time that FDA cleaned up this mess. But I'm just concerned that until they really start looking at category by category in the supermarket, it's not gonna mean anything. They're just gonna come up with, you know, another regulation of how you could deem something healthy. What they say is, there's basically two points to this, that it can contain a certain meaningful amount of food from at least one of the food groups or subgroups like fruit, vegetable, dairy, that's recommended by the dietary guidelines. 

Phil: So a certain meaningful amount from at least one of the food groups. So you could have, you know, let's take dairy. You could have this pizza cupcake that has lots of cheese in it, and, you know, it's got tomatoes, but forget about the dough. And that could be called healthy and the adherence to specific limits for certain nutrients such as saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars and so on. You know, I don't know if the FDA is any closer to having a good definition for the word "healthy", but I'm encouraged by the White House Program. What do you think? 

Sally: Yes, I agree with you, and I am encouraged also by what they're doing. I think what is really key to this initiative is that, you know, is that what they're saying is that this can't just be the federal government, tackling our nutrition, our food insecurity. You know, we've got disease,s so many diseases related to nutrition, and it can't just be the federal government. So what they're doing is they're calling on society to contribute to this. And in that, all of these organizations and companies, some CPG's are making commitments that hopefully will help with tackling this huge issue in our country. 

Phil: Yeah. And a lot of retailers are involved. Albertsons is involved, Publix, Hy-Vee, and with very specific commitments, I believe that Hy-Vee is isolating, I think it's a hundred cities that have poorer populations and what they're gonna do, how they're gonna use to register dietitians there and so on. It's really a great effort of everybody working together. I hope it keeps going because again, you know, what we saw with Michelle Obama, with schools, with school lunch, as soon as the Obama's were out ofthe White House, those programs stopped. And if in fact we were going to change the course of healthfulness in this country, this just can't be, you know, let's make the headlines now for the next year or two years. We really have to have a commitment moving forward to make these things happen. 

Sally: Yes. And a lot of this help is coming across the board from farming to food banks to, like you said, dietitians, helping guide shoppers. It's coming from all angles.