The GOOD Fair Food Toolkit

Want to help fix America's flawed food system? Here are ideas you can implement at the personal, local, and national levels.

The Farm Bill is currently up for reauthorization. This federal piece of legislation, which comes up for approval every five years or so, enacts sweeping policies that set the rules for America’s agricultural system. From protecting industrial-scale agricultural monopolies to subsidizing commodity crops like corn, cotton, and soybeans to allocating funding for federal nutrition programs, the Farm Bill impacts virtually every bite of food Americans consume.

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Chicken Eat Arsenic, You Eat Chicken: How to Stop Big Ag's Poisoned Poultry

Poultry producers feed their birds arsenic to make chicken flesh a more appetizing shade of pink. Maryland lawmakers are fighting back.


Go ahead and pick up some poultry—but it's best if it’s from Maryland. The state recently became the first in the nation to pass a law banning farmers from using arsenic-based feed additives in raising their chickens. Beginning next year, the state’s poultry producers will no longer be free to feed their birds a steady dose of poison-laced drugs like roxarsone.

The legislation signed into law last week may not have garnered much attention outside of Maryland, but it’s a significant move forward for the country at large. Arsenic-based feed additives like roxarsone have historically been used liberally in America’s booming poultry industry, to the detriment of water, wildlife, and chicken-eaters everywhere.

Poultry producers feed their birds roxarsone to prevent intestinal problems and make chicken flesh a more appetizing shade of pink. While Big Poultry has claimed for years that the use of roxarsone and other arsenic-based feed additives has no impact on consumer health, evidence suggests that all that arsenic is unnecessarily risky for consumers. Last year, the FDA found increased levels of arsenic in the livers of supermarket chickens. The FDA asserts that the presence of arsenic in chicken poses no threat to human health, but even relatively low levels of arsenic elsewhere have been linked to cancers, developmental disorders, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other maladies. Because roxarsone isn’t a necessity—it’s easy to raise healthy birds without feeding them poison—eliminating the use of roxarsone and similar drugs is an easy way to avoid exposure to arsenic.

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How Fingerprinting Food Stamp Recipients Hurts Everyone

New York will stop fingerprinting its food stamp recipients. That's good for the hungry—and the economy.


Every year, thousands of New Yorkers must report to state offices for government fingerprinting. These residents aren’t criminals. They’re applying to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, commonly known as food stamps.

New York is one of two states that require stamp recipients to ink their fingertips to eat. That’s about to change: Governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans last week for New York to eliminate mandatory fingerprinting for food stamps in an effort to reduce the stigma associated with applying for government assistance. While most of New York state did away with mandatory fingerprinting back in 2007, New York City continues to enforce the rule. “We shouldn’t treat the poor or the hungry as criminals,” Cuomo said at a recent news conference. “That’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what’s going to stop.”

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Cheap Shrimp, Funded by Human Trafficking and Environmental Destruction

Hidden costs lurk in those discounted bags of shrimp.


Forget cheeseburgers and French fries—the new American meal of choice is shrimp. American shrimp consumption has increased by more than 300 percent since 1980 [PDF]. Jumbo-sized bags of the crustaceans fill supermarket freezers from New York City to Norfolk, Arkansas. Shrimp used to only appear on the menus of upscale restaurants. Now, chains like Red Lobster, Popeye’s, and Long John Silver’s offer up shrimp dishes for as little as $5.99.

It’s hard to say no to some scampi when crustaceans cost little more than pocket change. But hidden costs lurk in those discounted bags of shrimp—in the form of environmental destruction and human trafficking.

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How Consumers Are Fighting Genetically Engineered Food—And Winning

Four recent consumer wins that have put serious dents in GE foods’ reign


Scientifically altered plants were first introduced to the American food supply in 1996. Today, they dominate it: About 85 percent of America’s corn, 88 percent of its cotton, and 91 percent of its soybeans are now genetically modified. Estimates suggest that nearly 70 percent of processed foods sold in supermarkets contain genetically engineered ingredients—and none of them are labeled as such.

The GE backlash is as old as GE food itself. Over the past 16 years, consumers and scientists alike have voiced concerns about how modified foods might affect human and environmental health. Agricultural biotech firm Monsanto’s "Roundup Ready" crops—plants genetically modified to withstand a dousing of Roundup herbicide—have been linked to the spread of superweeds, prompting farmers to use even more noxious chemical herbicides that endanger local wildlife, waterways, and farm workers. Genetically modified DNA can also escape the confines of crop fields and cross-pollinate with non-GMO plants, forever altering their DNA. This poses a particular danger to organic varieties, which must be completely free of GE traits in order to be certified. Other evidence suggests that GE products can trigger human health issues like increased allergic reactions. And that only accounts for what we know about them—experts say GE foods’ potential environmental and health consequences haven’t been adequately studied.

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Gag Order: Why States Are Banning Factory-Farm Whistleblowers

Lawmakers wanted to crack down on the folks who hurt their bottom line: animal welfare advocates.

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