Back in January, I did a post on Nicholas Kristof's call for changing the name the Department of Agriculture to the Department of Food. Again, his words:
Renaming the department would signal that Mr. Obama seeks to move away from a bankrupt structure of factory farming that squanders energy, exacerbates climate change and makes Americans unhealthy — all while costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
That just isn't far enough to untie the gordian knot of food policy, and a much more comprehensive answer is needed.
The USDA has the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (where the Pyramid comes from), the Food and Nutrition Service (which oversees nutritional assistance, including the National School Lunch Program), as well as the Food Safety and Inspection Service, and rip them away to be put in a new agency.
Take the F out of FDA in the form of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and put it in the new agency. You can add authority over advertising regulation held jointly by the USDA, FDA and the FTC and put them in the new agency.
Now add oversight of farm subsidies that impact all of the above issues, stir in a copious dose of Congressional testicular diameter, and season VERY, VERY generously with a firewall mantaining decisions based on facts and protecting from interference from Congress or lobbyists from any food industry and consumer groups and you migh have a recipe for success.
As it is, I'll belive that meaningful change will happen when monkeys fly out of my butt.
ETA 3/29: today's Buffnews has an Editorial endorsing this in part.