food pyramid, food safety, consumer safety, labeling, litigation, biotechnology, rice contamination

Document Type



For decades, the federal government has played a significant role in promoting healthy eating. In the early 1900s, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) promoted a foundational diet of milk, proteins, fruits and vegetables, and grains. Most Americans are at least somewhat familiar, although perhaps confused, with the more nuanced healthy eating recommendations contained in the food pyramid - first employed in 1992. And virtually every American has experienced the federally supported school lunch program. In the first half of 2011, these two iconic programs underwent significant change as part of a stepped-up effort to improve the health of the country through better food choices. Part I of this article describes the "MyPlate" initiative that replaces the iconic USDA food pyramid and menu revisions to the national school lunch and school breakfast programs. This section also profiles administrative decisions in two school districts to ban, on health grounds, brown- bag lunches in favor of school- provided lunches. Finally, this section describes some of the challenges of implementing a rule for chain restaurant menu labeling under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.