A Systematic Review of Socially-Inclusive Food Policy in America

Food system activities - such as food production from agriculture and livestock cultivation – arguably have the largest impact on global environmental change. The United States (U.S.) disproportionately contributes to this change through land impact, water use, and greenhouse gas emission. We posit that reducing environmental change activities in the U.S. will require the development and enforcement of socially-inclusive food policy. However, there is a gap in food policy research since there has been no systematic review of socially-inclusive food policy in the U.S. We address this by performing what we know to be the first systematic review of socially-inclusive food policy in the U.S. Our results show that U.S. food policy is not socially-inclusive in the vast majority of cases, which includes a total of 2,002 policies initially reviewed. Furthermore, results show that only about 16% (3) of the food policies systematically reviewed (19) meet adequate socially-inclusive criteria. Our findings suggest that U.S. food policymakers standardize the use of socially-inclusive terminology and concepts into policy development activities. The implications of not doing so could intensify environmental challenges associated with food production that already persist domestically and globally.

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