House to advance bill undermining notable public health strategies

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 27, 2023 — The U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to vote today on legislation for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and related agencies that includes provisions that would hinder efforts to promote nutrition and food security and prevent tobacco use. The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary organization focused on heart and brain health, issued the following statement:

“Over the past few years, the USDA and FDA have taken significant strides to tackle nutrition and food insecurity and the deadly trajectory of tobacco use in this country. We are disheartened that this legislation signals commitment to the food and tobacco industry over public health and well-being.

“Provisions included in this bill would undercut public health by impeding the FDA’s work to implement a proposal that would prohibit the sale of menthol cigarettes and all flavored cigars and develop a plan to reduce nicotine levels in cigarettes. The bill also includes policy riders that would interrupt the USDA’s efforts to make school meals more nutritious, prevent the FDA from working with industry on voluntary sodium reduction efforts and weaken efforts to establish a definition of healthy and the healthy food benefit for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

“This bill would weaken undermine key strategies currently being implemented by the USDA and the FDA to improve nutrition and food security and change the course of tobacco use in this country. We urge Congress to remove these harmful provisions from the final bill, prioritize public health by quickly passing appropriations with no new riders and prevent a costly government shutdown.”

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About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:

Arielle Beer: 202-785-7902; arielle.beer@heart.org  

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org

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