The foods we eat in America are influenced by where we come from, our heritage and our social status. Though we may never think of this, the government can also affect our food choices. Federal policies impact the price and availability of food. They also affect how safe our food supply is and the work conditions of the various jobs needed to keep our food supply intact.
Here is a list of Donald Trump’s cabinet picks and how they could affect our food habits and work conditions in the food sector.
Secretary of Labor: Andrew F. Puzder
The U.S. Department of Labor deals with business controversies, wage and hour laws and can suggest laws that deal with unions. This office affects the many workers in restaurants of all categories and extends to farm workers and those who work in the manufacturing sector. Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. He supports the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and has criticized the Obama Administration’s ruling which boosts workers’ eligibility for overtime work pay. He has also spoken out about how he favors machines as opposed to humans who work.
Environmental Protection Agency: Scott Pruitt
The EPA registers all pesticides used in the U.S. and is also involved in clean water and air regulations. This position could affect the country’s agriculture sector through regulation. It could also impact legislation they work on in conjunction with Congress, and the enforcement of laws and regulations pertaining to the environment.
Secretary of Health and Human Services: Congressman Tom Price
The Food and Drug Administration is a part of this department. Congressman Price, from Georgia, is an experienced orthopedic surgeon who has mostly criticized the Affordable Care Act. However, Price could also affect the country’s public health programs, food safety initiatives, and even the assisted reproduction of certain animals. Price’s input could increase regulations or make them more lax and any new regulations will affect the public.
Secretary of Agriculture: TBD
Trump hasn’t mentioned who he will nominate for this position but it is the office that will most affect who will have access to food. The Department of Agriculture is also in charge of the United States Forest Service which looks after grasslands and national forests. Of note, this office is also in charge of the Food Stamp Program, which works with all states to distribute food people who need this service. The Department of Agriculture also runs the United States Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, a division that advises gardeners and farmers.
President-elect Trump still has to complete the list of nominees for his Cabinet and they must be ratified by Congress in order to get their jobs. Given the nature of government, Trump’s Cabinet picks could also affect school lunches, laws governing work breaks that could affect how workers eat and when and laws affecting the use of agricultural land. During the Obama Administration, First Lady Michelle Obama was known for her Let’s Move initiative to fight obesity and promote healthy eating habits. We haven’t heard much about Melania Trump and whether or not she will continue such an initiative or come up with something new.