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Category Archives: Food and Nutrition

Welfare, Work, and Poverty Status of Female-Headed Families with Children: 1987-2013

CRS – Welfare, Work, and Poverty Status of Female-Headed Families with Children: 1987-2013. Thomas Gabe, Specialist in Social Policy, November 21, 2014

“Eighteen years have passed since repeal of what was the nation’s major cash welfare program assisting low-income families with children, the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program, and its replacement with a block grant of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This report focuses on trends in the economic well-being of female-headed families with children, the principal group affected by the replacement of AFDC with TANF. Female-headed families and their children are especially at risk of poverty, and children in such families account for well over half of all poor children in the United States. For these reasons, single female-headed families continue to be of particular concern to policymakers. The report details trends in income and poverty status of these families, prior and subsequent to enactment of the 1996 welfare reform law and other policy changes. The report focuses especially on welfare dependency and work engagement among single mothers, a major dynamic that welfare reform and accompanying policy changes have attempted to affect. It also examines the role of programs other than TANF in providing support to single female-headed families with children. CRS analysis of 27 years of U.S. Census Bureau data shows that there has been a dramatic transformation with regard to welfare, work, and poverty status of single mothers. The period has seen a marked structural change in the provision of benefits under a number of programs that contribute to the fabric of the nation’s “income safety net.” In turn, single mothers’ behavior has changed markedly over the period; more mothers are working and fewer are relying on cash welfare to support themselves and their children. In the years immediately preceding 1996 welfare reform, and in the years since, the nation’s income safety net has been transformed into one supporting work. Cash-welfare work requirements, the end of cash welfare as an open-ended entitlement by limiting the duration that individuals may receive federally funded benefits, and expanded earnings and family income supplements administered through the federal income tax system have helped to change the dynamics between work and welfare. The transformed system has helped to both reduce single mothers’ reliance on traditional cash welfare and reduce poverty among their children. Poverty under the official U.S. poverty measure, which is based on pre-tax cash income, shows that since 2000, which marked a historical low, the poverty rate among single mothers increased in step with two recessions. By 2010, the official poverty rate for single mothers had reached a post-2000 high, and remained at that level through 2012, before falling somewhat in 2013. In 2013, the official poverty level was still below pre-1996 welfare reform levels, despite two recessions since 1996. Using a more comprehensive income definition than that used by the official poverty measure indicates that the increase in poverty among single mothers and their children over the past 13 years has been substantially mitigated by Food Stamp/SNAP benefits and work-related refundable tax credits—benefits not captured by the “official” poverty measure. Use of an expanded income poverty measure that includes these benefits highlights effects of congressional action that helped reduce child poverty amidst, and subsequent to, the most severe recession since the Great Depression. The role of work-conditioned benefits, and the provision of traditional cash welfare, will likely continue to garner attention, in part contingent on the nature and pace of economic recovery, and federal and state budget pressures.”

Google purchases Smart Spoon

Graham Templeton – Geek: “Google’s new spoon is technically called a “tremor-canceling” invention, which means that it reads incoming movement and uses onboard motors to offset that movement and keep the bowl of the spoon as stationary as possible. It has to do more than just mechanical shock-absorbing, as it must dynamically undo the movement caused by random nerveContinue Reading

FDA Menu and Vending Machines Labeling Requirements

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has finalized two rules requiring that calorie information be listed on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments and vending machines. Menu labeling final rule: Applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or moreContinue Reading

Bing’s new recipes features help you make the perfect Thanksgiving feast

“Thanksgiving is almost here and that means two things, family and food. We understand how difficult it can be to cook such a huge feast. Whether you are looking for a new dish for this year’s table or for how to make stuffing just like your mom’s, Bing can help you find the perfect recipe.Continue Reading

USDA launches new web tool providing access to research and researchers

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science. USDA employs over 5,000 researchers to advance that science, and provides grants to many times that number of researchers outside the Department. As research becomes more interdisciplinary, itContinue Reading

Consumer Groups Urge USDA to Finalize Labeling of Mechanically Tenderized Meat

“Members of the Safe Food Coalition wrote today to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack urging him to finalize a rule to label mechanically tenderized beef products by the end of the year. The Secretary must then send the rule to the Office of Management and Budget for final approval. The letter is availableContinue Reading

Oxfam’s new report on global inequalty

“From Ghana to Germany, South Africa to Spain, the gap between rich and poor is rapidly increasing, and economic inequality has reached extreme levels. In South Africa, inequality is greater today than at the end of Apartheid.The consequences are corrosive for everyone. Extreme inequality corrupts politics, hinders economic growth and stifles social mobility. It fuels crimeContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Airport and Airway Trust Fund, Food Safety, Information Sharing

FISCAL YEAR 2014 AGREED-UPON PROCEDURES: Excise Tax Distributions to the Airport and Airway Trust Fund and the Highway Trust Fund, GAO-15-152R: Published: Nov 6, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 2014. FOOD SAFETY: FDA and USDA Should Strengthen Pesticide Residue Monitoring Programs and Further Disclose Monitoring Limitations, GAO-15-38: Published: Oct 7, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 6, 2014. INFORMATION SHARING: DHS Is Assessing FusionContinue Reading

New food label targets limiting massive amount of food waste

Washington Post – Landfills are overflowing with food. Here’s a gelatin label that could limit the waste: “The next time you start to toss an “expired” carton of milk, consider this: Dates on packages don’t actually have anything to do with food safety or FDA regulations. Instead, the dates are a somewhat arbitrary indication of whenContinue Reading

New GAO Reports – Changing Crude Oil Markets, Federal Paid Admin Leave, Food Safety

CHANGING CRUDE OIL MARKETS: Allowing Exports Could Reduce Consumer Fuel Prices, and the Size of the Strategic Reserves Should Be Reexamined, GAO-14-807: Published: Sep 30, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2014. FEDERAL PAID ADMINISTRATIVE LEAVE: Additional Guidance Needed to Improve OPM Data, GAO-15-79: Published: Oct 17, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 20, 2014. FOOD SAFETY: USDA Needs to Strengthen Its Approach toContinue Reading

FISHWATCH – U.S. Seafood Facts

“Today, 91 percent of seafood consumed in the United States is imported, and about half of this is wild-caught. Because of our interests both as a seafood-consuming nation and a fishing nation, it is critical that NOAA take an active role in shaping the conservation and management of international fisheries. For U.S. consumers of importedContinue Reading

Where GMOs hide in your food – Consumer Reports

“More than 70 percent of Americans say they don’t want genetically modified organisms in their food, according to a recent Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 1,000 adults. The trouble is, it’s hard to avoid them. Consumer Reports’ tests of breakfast cereals, chips, soy infant formulas, and other popular products found that GMOs lurkContinue Reading