Five Ways President Trump Could Change How and What We Eat

Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Photo by Gage Skidmore | CC2.0

Early this morning, the impossible happened: Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th president of the United States after running a campaign that was contentious and fraught with hate-speak.

But as President Barack Obama promised yesterday — and remarked upon today — the sun did rise and we are all still here.

Jokes about Canadian citizenship aside, the nation has chosen a man with no real policies to lead the country. Trying to find out what Trump's stance is on major issues is difficult because there are no hard and fast answers. But here are a few issues that can change how we, as Americans, eat in the next four years.

1. Minimum Wage
Fast-food workers and restaurant staff typically make minimum wage, with employees continually fighting for an increase to $15. Trump has constantly changed his mind on a federal minimum wage — sometimes saying he would leave it to individual states, telling Chuck Todd in May 2016: "Let the states decide, because — don’t forget — the states have to compete with each other."

In July 2016, Bill O'Reilly tried to pin down Trump for a federal minimum wage of $10. According to the Washington Post, a Trump campaign official said, “On the minimum wage, Mr. Trump has voiced support for raising it to $10 at the federal level but believes states should set the minimum wage as appropriate for their state.” Trump has also toyed with tax credits for low-wage earners instead of raising the federal minimum wage, making the fate of these workers up in the air.

2. Food Safety
In September 2016, Trump's campaign website issued a statement calling for the elimination of the FDA's power over food regulation, saying:

"The FDA Food Police, which dictate how the federal government expects farmers to produce fruits and vegetables and even dictates the nutritional content of dog food
The rules govern the soil farmers use, farm and food production hygiene, food packaging, food temperatures and even what animals may roam which fields and when,” the statement continued. "It also greatly increased inspections of food 'facilities,' and levies new taxes to pay for this inspection overkill."

That statement, which also called for killing off the EPA's rule for Waters of the United States and Clean Power Plan, was removed from the website, although several screenshots exist. It's not clear if Trump still plans to hobble the FDA's power to protect what we eat.

3. School Lunches and Child Obesity
Michelle Obama famously backed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which increases portions of fruits and vegetables and decreased the calories in school meals. Though there's no actual stance yet on whether that act would be amended, Trump did answer a question about child obesity on The Dr. Oz Show. Trump, who Oz maintained was overweight, blamed childhood obesity on schools and DNA, saying increasing sports activity would be a solution:  

"That is a school thing to a certain extent. I guess you could say it's a hereditary thing too. I would imagine it certainly is a hereditary thing. But a lot of schools aren't providing proper food because they have budget problems, and they're buying cheaper food and not as good of food. And the big thing — when I went to school I always loved sports, and I would always — I loved to eat and I loved sports, and it worked, because I could do both. A lot of schools today they don't have sports programs, and that is a big problem. I would try and open that up. I’m a big believer in the whole world of sports. I would try and open that up."

4. Trump and Chefs
Barack Obama is a big fan of restaurants and the chefs who drive them, but it seems Trump isn't quite as chummy with certain toques. In June 2016, chef Michael Symon said Trump wasn't welcome at his Cleveland restaurant: "There's not a chance I would let him in one of my restaurants." Symon then said Trump "creeps me out a bit."

Also, Trump sued Geoffrey Zakarian and José Andrés in August 2015 after the chefs pulled their restaurants out of Trump's Washington, D.C. hotel, stating that "they could no longer do business with the Republican presidential nominee after he made disparaging remarks on the campaign trail about Mexicans." Could Trump take out his frustrations on chefs by imposing new regulations on restaurants? Probably not, but one thing is certain: We won't see the likes of Mario Batali at future state dinners.

5. Trump and GMOs
Donald Trump is against requiring the labeling of genetically modified foods. Asked by the Iowa Farm Bureau, "Do you support the use of biotechnology in food products and oppose efforts to require mandatory labeling for foods simply because they contain ingredients derived from biotechnology?" his answer was one word: Yes. Trump, a self-described lover of fast food, doesn't seem to care about Americans' right to know what goes on their dinner tables.


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