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Center for a Livable Future


CLF Research and Policy Director Featured in Imagine Magazine

food mattersImagine magazine, a publication of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth, published an article written by CLF research and policy director Roni Neff, PhD, in its January/February 2009 issue. In her article, “Food Matters: How What We Eat Affects Our Health and the Planet,” Neff discusses the true costs of our food and the need to incorporate public health concerns into agriculture policies.

As society has modernized, we have become more separated from the knowledge of how our food is produced. The industrialization of agriculture means more inputs, including pesticides, fertilizer, fuel and water, and high production rates of just a few crops, namely corn and soy. It also means more pollution, land degradation, and negative impacts on human health, including pesticide exposure and obesity. (A just-released study published in the scientific journal, Environment Health, found high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) contaminated with mercury. A separate study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) detected mercury in nearly one-third of 55 popular brand name food and beverage products where HFCS is the first- or second-highest labeled ingredient.)

“The burgers and snacks in the store are cheap only if you stop counting at the checkout line," Neff writes. "But in terms of effects on the environment and public health, they’re wildly expensive, both in dollars and in human impact.”