The Institute of Medicine has released “A Framework for Assessing Effects of the Food System.” Its purpose? To figure out the real cost of U.S. food production. Think “externalized” costs here.

From the document’s preface:

“The U.S. food system provides a remarkably varied food supply to the U.S. consumer at lower cost than nearly anywhere else in the world. Many are concerned, however, that the cost of food in the marketplace may not reflect its true cost. Some of the costs of food production and distribution are not reflected in the marketplace price of food but are “externalized,” borne by other aspects of the health, environmental, and social domains of our society.”


Nutrition and policy expert Marion Nestle digests what all this may mean in her Food Politics blog, providing excellent background and context for an important and lengthy report most of us won’t wade through. In addition to interpreting what it all means, Nestle provides links to the related documents. A link to the four-page executive overview is provided here. For more information about the Institute of Medicine and this project, visit their website.