Food Policy Guides
ASTHO’s second set of policy guides aim to showcase state and federal programs, initiatives, and policies that exemplify fruitful cross-sector partnerships and improve our overall food safety system. The seven guides feature an introduction to HiAP, as well as policies and programs that (1) enable access to healthy food choices, (2) improve school nutrition, (3) promote food safety, (4) enhance food defense, (5) support safe food production, and (6) reduce food contamination during transport.
Healthy Food Policies Introduction
Food choices are often shaped by policies that originate outside the health sector and therefore require significant cross-sector collaboration. For example, policies that promote access to local healthy food stores may require collaboration between the land use or planning, agriculture, commerce, and transportation departments and the business community. Policies that improve access to healthier foods in schools require partnerships between local and state health and education departments, and policies that promote food safety often require partnerships between health agencies and agriculture departments. The purpose of this document is to highlight how policies of other sectors, such as agricultural, transportation, or land use, can be strengthened to improve the nation's health. The cross-sector collaboration necessary to advance healthy policies is at the core of a Health in All Policies (HiAP) approach.
- Enable Access to Healthy Food Choices
Collaborative, multi-sector approaches like Health in All Policies (HiAP) may help improve nutrition and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Improved access to healthy food is a goal that partners can share across sectors and at all levels of government. Many policies and programs that enable access to healthy food choices focus on increasing the availability, affordability, and awareness of healthy foods and nutrition. Examples of policy and programs that improve access through cross-sectoral collaboration are shared here.
- Improve School Nutrition
Creating a healthier school food system requires more than just new recipes and menus. It takes a systems approach-one that requires reevaluating existing school food systems, developing new partnerships, and investing in new strategies. Below are examples of successful initiatives that take a Health in All Policies approach.
- Improve Food Safety
Food safety is a core public health issue. With today's far-reaching and complex food supply chain, there is an increasing need to find more effective solutions to better protect consumers by preventing food contamination. A Health in All Policies approach for food safety works best when there is a clear mandate for coordination and engagement with stakeholders inside and outside of government.
- Enhance Food Defense
Food safety concerns used to focus solely on accidental contamination. However, in recent years there has been concern about intentional contamination by introducing biological, chemical, or radiological agents into the food supply. To enhance food defense preparedness, a Health in All Policies approach that builds cross-sector initiatives and partnerships needs to be established and maintained among multiple federal, state, and local agencies and organizations.
- Reduce Food Contamination During Transport
Each point along the farm-to-fork continuum has its own unique challenge. Food can get contaminated during production, processing, distribution, or preparation. Food safety is enhanced by taking a Health in All Policies approach that integrates health considerations during food transportation and distribution.
- Support Safe Food Production
Safe food production and processing practices help reduce animal-to-human disease transmission and crop diseases. Good agricultural and food production policies that include health considerations and take a Health in All Policies approach can lead to safer and healthier food.
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