Foodies clinched a small victory this week when Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack nodded to eaters while describing his vision for future policies, saying “I absolutely see the constituency of this department as broader than those who produce our food — it extends to those who consume it.” The Senate is thinking about food, too. During a hearing yesterday about a recent salmonella outbreak tied to Peanut Corp. of America, “lawmakers reacted angrily when told that food companies and state safety inspectors don’t have to report to the FDA when test results find pathogens in a processing plant,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Conveniently, if Vilsack encourages food production from smaller, local farms, widespread outbreaks will inhibit themselves. While there’s still concern over his ties with the commercial corn industry, sustainable-food lovers are drooling over the potential for change — the USDA just restored Bush-annulled grants to fruit-and-vegetable farmers.
Vilsack has a lot on his plate. Photo: Getty Images