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Abstract

On December 15, 2010, President Obama signed the Healthy Hunger- Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA)1 into law. It was hailed as a bipartisan success and a significant reform of childhood nutrition policy. Indeed, on its surface the law appears to make a significant shift away from the food paradigm of the past. However, upon closer examination, it fails to unwind the tangled connections between domestic eating habits and longstanding farm subsidies. This Article breaks new ground in several ways: First, it is one of the first essays in the emerging and underexplored field of food law, a crosssection of health law, law and society, environmental law, and administrative law; second, this is the first Article to look in-depth at the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which is in some ways the most radical iteration of the Child Nutrition Act2 and National School Lunch Act3 in twenty-five years; third, I offer a unique critique of this legislation by pointing out the tacit juxtaposition between it and longstanding farm subsidies, which are up for renewal and reconsideration next year; and finally, relying on both of these observations, I outline what Congress should do to effectively reform the current regulatory regime and address the critical public health issue of obesity. Specifically, I argue Congress must reallocate or eliminate certain food subsidies through farm bill reform, closely monitor the USDA’s exercise of discretion, limit loopholes relating to competitive foods, monitor potential preemption suits, reallocate the designation of dietary guidelines to a medical or health administrative agency, and allocate additional resources to the school meal infrastructure.

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