New York City Food Policy Watch
October 2013
New York City Food Policy Watch is the monthly e-newsletter of the New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College. We keep an eye on food policy in New York City and on urban food policy around the nation and the world. We also provide updates on our own policy analyses and research activities and on the food policy activities of City University of New York faculty, students and staff. To subscribe to our newsletter click here >>>

 Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter  

Food Safety and 

the Government Shutdown

Two of the three government agencies responsible for protecting the public from outbreaks of food-borne illness have been forced to enact severe cutbacks in response to the government shutdown. These agencies, FDA and CDC, jointly oversee our supply of fruit, vegetables, dairy products and many other domestic foods. USDA, responsible for inspection of meat and poultry plants, has been largely spared from the cuts. Read more here >>>> 

The Advocate: NYC Food Policy Interview with Brooklyn Food Coalition's Nancy Romer    

This is the first in a series of interviews with food policy advocates

Nancy Romer is a psychology professor interested in making a difference in the food we eat.  As a result of her interest and intense passion she founded the Brooklyn Food Coalition, a maverick organization dedicated to the vision of a just and sustainable food system in Brooklyn. We emailed Nancy and asked her a few questions and she was kind enough to share her thoughts. Which we share unedited.

FPC: What motivated you to get involved with food policy and to become a food policy advocate? Was there a specific trigger or inciting incident?

NR: After years of activism in a range of social movements, through travel to several Global South nations and witnessing food sovereignty movements,and a great deal of reading about food issues I came to realize that the Food Justice Movement provides a way to educate, activate and mobilize people around one of the greatest cross-cutting issues before us: the right to healthy, sustainable food. Food Justice raises issues of who controls the food system, who profits from it and who is hurt by it. The Food Justice Movement provides us with lots of projects and initiatives on the ground while advocating for policy changes that will yield a healthier, more democratic food system. Read the full interview with Nancy Romer here>>> 

NYC Food By the Numbers*

Number of Food Establishments in NYC         $30,986
Total number of Food Workers in NYC           $326,059
Average Annual Wage of NYC Food Worker     $26,394

(*2011 numbers)

Look for more "NYC Food by the Numbers" in coming months
Know Where it Grows 
The Sources of New York City's Fruits and Vegetables

We ran across this and thought we would share....  

"The Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market pulls in 210 million packages of food a year, from all over the world - about 60 percent of all the fruits and vegetables that come into New York City. Each weekday morning, market reporters from the U.S. Department of Agriculture survey the market's wholesalers to learn what they've stocked, where it comes from and how much it costs; on any given day, eight in ten of them report. From the market, that produce is distributed to grocery stores, restaurants and other food retailers throughout the region."

You can enter a type of fruit or vegetable into the box on the website, choose an item to view, and click on a highlighted state or country of origin to see the average wholesale price in the market of that item in the most recent past week. Read more here>>>>>>

If you come across a food website that you would like to share with us, send us the details at

Athlete Endorsements of Unhealthy Food 

A new article in 
Pediatrics reports that 100 athletes endorsed 512 brands in 2010.  Food and beverages constituted 23.8% of these endorsements. Seventy-nine percent of the 62 food products in these athlete-endorsed advertisements were energy-dense and nutrient poor; and 96% of the 46 advertised beverages had 100% of their calories from added sugar.  Peyton Manning and LeBron James had the most endorsements for energy-dense, nutrient poor products. Read more here>>>>

Why SNAP Benefits
Need To Be Raised, Not Cut  

Unless Congress acts, SNAP benefits to all participants will be cut in November 1, 2013 when the benefit increase established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) will terminate.  SNAP benefits, however, need to be raised, not cut.  For most participants, benefits run out before the end of the month, leaving households without resources to purchase nutritious food.  A recent analysis of SNAP redemption patterns found that on average, participating households have less than a quarter of their benefits left by the mid point of the month. [1]  Although the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) on which the SNAP benefit calculation is based, is technically a nutritious diet suitable for ongoing use, there are several reasons why many households in the SNAP program are unable to meet their nutritional needs with current program benefits. Read more here >>>> 

Current Food Policy News 


"The Index identifies hunger levels and hot spots across 120 developing countries and countries in transition. It scores countries based on three equally weighted indicators: (1) the proportion of people who are undernourished, (2) the proportion of children under five who are underweight, and (3) the mortality rate of children under five.." Read more here>>>


New Report from the Hunger Action Network Calls on NYS Food Policy Council to Provide More Leadership

A Performance Review of the First Six Years of the NYS Food Policy Council, surveyed and interviewed members of the Food Policy Council, agency staff, and community food advocates. The minutes of the public Food Policy Council meetings were reviewed, as well as the annual reports and written testimony from a series of hearings the Council held in 2008. Food Policy Councils in other states were also interviewed and reviewed. The report also examined the work of the first Food Policy Council in NYS during the administration of Governor Mario Cuomo that was chaired by NYS DOH Commissioner David Axelrod. Read more here>>> 


"Michigan is expected to bring in a record-setting apple crop this year. So how do you sort and package 2,000 Galas in a minute? Farmers have turned to the Rolls Royce of fruit processing: a robot that uses computer vision to weed out the bad apples." Read more here>>>

McDonald's USA President Jeff Stratton has been criticized on social media for his videotaped response to an employee who confronted him and complained that she doesn't make enough to feed her kids. But a spokeswoman for the company says McDonald's has a long history of promoting from within.. 


Shutdown Leaves Some Seniors Worried About Their Next Meal Some Michigan seniors may be going hungry thanks to the government shutdown. In western Kent County alone, more than 1,300 low-income seniors depend on a government surplus food program. But the USDA has announced that the program is hold until further notice.  

About The New York City  

Food Policy Center at Hunter College


The New York City Food Policy Center develops intersectoral, innovative and effective solutions to preventing diet-related diseases and promoting food security in New York and other cities.

The Center works with policy makers, community organizations, advocates and the public to create healthier, more sustainable food environments and to use food to promote community and economic development. Through interdisciplinary research, policy analysis, evaluation and education, we leverage the expertise and passion of the students, faculty and staff of Hunter College and CUNY.

The Center aims to make New York a model for smart, fair food policy.  


Center staff include Hunter faculty:

  • Nicholas Freudenberg (Distinguished Professor Public Health),
  • Jan Poppendieck (Professor Emerita, Sociology),
  • Charles Platkin (Distinguished Lecturer Public Health and Nutrition and Editor, Food Policy Watch),
  • May May Leung,(Assistant Professor Nutrition),
  • Ashley Rafalow (MPH student and Center Communications and Administrative Coordinator)



In This Issue
Food Safety
Nancy Romer
NYC Food by Numbers
Know Where it Grows
Athletes and Food
Snap Benefits
Food Policy News
This Thursday
October 17th

Fall Forum on Growing

Good Food Jobs in NYC



Join us for a panel discussion on strategies for creating good food jobs in NYC, featuring a panel of experts and advocates involved in workforce development and good food jobs.


Date: October 17, 2013 

Time: 8:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Location: CUNY School of Public Health 2180 Third Avenue @ 119th St  


RSVP Here>>>



FIRST FRIDAYS at Hunter/East Harlem


A Film and Dialogue Series on Health and Social Justice
Presents The Garden

The Garden follows the fight by residents of South Central Los Angeles to save a fourteen-acre community garden, the largest urban garden in the U.S.,  from being plowed under for development.

Date: November 1, 2013
Time: Doors open at 6:30, film begins at 7:00PM.
Location: CUNY School of Public Health 2180 Third Avenue @ 119th St.