CSPI Sugar Reduction Summit explores local food policies, initiatives, executive orders

During a panel, moderated by Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia, Kate MacKenzie, MS, RD, executive director, NYC Mayor’s Office of Food Policy and Holly Scheider, food policy activist, Berkeley, Calif., offered insight on how food reform policy , particularly sugar reduction, can shape public health in cities large and small. As the adverse effects of added sugar in processed foods and beverages pose a national concern, both New York City and Berkeley offer a template for other cities around the country to coordinate initiatives between communities and local governments. Both cities’ food policy programs have made notable progress on investing city funds into prevention and education.

The discussion followed CSPI and the NY Department of Hygiene and Mental Health (DOHMH) filing a petition to the FDA to set voluntary targets for reducing added sugars from food and beverages. Using the FDA’s sodium reduction program as a template, “a parallel program to reduce added sugars in the food supply is another necessary strategy to improve Americans’ diets and advance population health,” according to both NYC DOHMH and CSPI.

NYC food, retail and environmental initiatives

New York City’s food policy initiatives include its 10-year Food Forward plan created to “sustain a food system where all New Yorkers can access healthy, affordable sustainable food,” Mackenzie noted.

Many New Yorkers consume more than one sugary drink a day. Certainly exceeding USDA guidelines…The city has taken steps to ensure marketers can not advertise unhealthy food or beverages on properties that’s owned by the city,” Mackenzie explained.

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