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Faces of Food Safety

For many American consumers, the first thing that comes to mind when they think of USDA is the mark of inspection on their food labels and products.

The mark of inspection gives consumers confidence that the meat, poultry and processed egg products they are about to enjoy are safe and wholesome. And we can give consumers this confidence because of the work of the men and women of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

That is why, this week, FSIS launched Faces of Food Safety, a monthly in-depth look at one of the scientists, veterinarians, inspectors, or other professionals that play a role in making our nation’s food safe. Read more »

Secretary’s Column: A Healthier Back to School

Right now, parents are making sure their children are ready to head back to school after the summer.  Their checklist to get ready might include new shoes or a new backpack – paper, pens and other supplies.

At USDA, we are working to add another item to the list: nutritious meals and healthy lifestyles for all of America’s children.

If we want to build a strong economy and win the future, then we also need to win the race to educate our kids.  And that means making sure that the 32 million kids who eat school lunches every day are fueled by the healthiest, most nutritious food we can provide. Read more »

Separating Fact from Fiction on Obama Administration’s Farm Policies

An August 18 opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, ‘Obama on the Farm’, missed the underlying fact: the Obama administration understands that America’s farmers are some of our nation’s finest conservationists, and we have gone to historic lengths to support them in these efforts.

Sadly, rumors and misconceptions have become the norm, not the exception, especially when it comes to regulations and the Obama administration’s work on agriculture.  First, it was that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was considering treating spilled milk like an oil spill.  Not true.  In terms of water regulations, EPA has made it clear that recent rules do not seek to regulate land that occasionally ponds during heavy rains. Read more »

Innovation Leads the Way for Farmers in Oregon

Deborah Kane, Food and Farms at Ecotrust, Oregon

Deborah Kane, Food and Farms at Ecotrust, Oregon

Cross posted from the White House Rural Champions of Change website:

Deborah is the Vice President of Food and Farms at Ecotrust, a non-profit organization based in Oregon. Read more »

Spotlight on Rural America

Cross posted from the White House blog:

Today, I am hosting a forum focused on the rural economy at the Iowa state fair.  But, Rural America has been in the spotlight all this week as I joined President Obama to travel across parts of Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, visiting rural communities to discuss his Administration’s efforts to create jobs and drive economic growth.  From investments in rural broadband to efforts to support small-business innovation, the President talked about his commitment to rural America – and he listened to what local residents had to say.

The centerpiece of his trip was the Rural Economic Forum, held Tuesday at Northeast Iowa Community College in Peosta.  There, 200 small business owners, farmers, retirees, elected officials and others came together to discuss their ideas for a revitalized rural economy.  I was pleased to participate in that forum, along with my Cabinet colleagues Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donovan, Transportation Secretary LaHood, and Administrator Mills of the Small Business Administration. Read more »

Feeding Hungry Kids Tops Perth Amboy Priorities

A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.   More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

A youngster enjoys a crisp apple for lunch at the Puerto Rican Association for Human Development’s Mi Escuelita summer food program site in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. More than 75 kids enjoy physical activities such as soccer and basketball followed by a free healthy lunch each day during summer thanks to the USDA Summer Food Service Program.

Despite having some of the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in New Jersey, the city of Perth Amboy refuses to let kids go hungry over the summer.  In 2011 the city extended the Summer Food Service Program by two weeks and added 20 new feeding sites.  Through an aggressive marketing effort using local newspapers, businesses, cable TV access programming and schools to advertise site locations and activities, Perth Amboy has made providing meals to kids when school’s out a top priority. Read more »