16 SOURCE | Spring 2023
2023 National Council of Farmer Cooperatives Annual Meeting Brings Together Industry Leaders
Amy Bradford , GROWMARK Corporate Communications Manager abradford @ growmark . com
The GROWMARK Board of Directors , CEO staff , and GROWMARK staff participated in the 94th Annual Meeting of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives February 8-10 , 2023 . The annual gathering offers opportunities for education / information and professional development for cooperative boards of directors and staff through the Public Policy Conference ; Legal , Tax , and Accounting ( LTA ) Conference ; Director Education ; and General Sessions . Several topics of interest to GROWMARK and its FS and grain member cooperatives were scattered throughout the conference .
In the Public Policy Conference , a session on “ food as medicine ” focused on the topic . Sarah Gallo , VP , Public Policy , Consumer Brands Association ; Rachel Santos , Director , Sales and Industry Relations , Premium Peanut ; Cody Nore , Manager , Quality Assurance , Pacific Coast Producers ; and Donn Zea , Executive Director , California Prune Board , shared their perspectives on the emerging trend .
“ There is heightened awareness of the scope of information on food as medicine ,” Gallo said , or “ at the intersection of food and health .”
Understandably , food companies are scrambling to attract consumers in this food and nutrition space , while trying to keep pace with federal regulations .
The Food & Drug Administration ( FDA ) is responsible for administering labeling requirements for foods under the Federal Food , Drug , and Cosmetic Act ( FFDCA ) and its amendments . FDA defines words commonly used in the marketplace , like
“ functional foods ,” “ nutraceuticals ,” and “ healthy ” and oversees these claims under the FFDCA .
Panelists voiced some concern over the new nutrition labeling . They noted FDA is redefining “ low-calorie ” and “ healthy ,” and it would seem logical for FDA to step up attention to company “ food as medicine ” claims .
New nutrition labeling was in the works before the White House outlined its domestic strategy for “ ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030 so fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases .”
The five-pillar strategy is designed to “ shift the country ’ s food , nutrition , and health policies .”
One pillar is Integrate Nutrition & Health : This would prioritize the role of nutrition and food security in overall health – including disease prevention