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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

New York University: Key Drivers of State Preemption of Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy

A new study by Dr. Jennifer L. Pomeranz, assistant professor of public health policy and management with New York University’s College of Global Public Health, was published in SAGE Journal titled “Key Drivers of State Preemption of Food, Nutrition, and Agriculture Policy: A Thematic Content Analysis of Public Testimony.”

Local communities are often active public health policy makers, so state preemption— when the state withdraws authority from local governments— can hinder public health progress. Kansas, in particular, enacted the most sweeping law in the nation preempting food, nutrition, and agricultural policy. To understand the drivers of the law, this study used a qualitative thematic content analysis on public comments to identify and evaluate common and key arguments regarding the preemptive bill. All testimonials and comments were submitted by individuals and organizations to the Kansas State Legislature.

Data from eight types of commentators were evaluated on a latent level to examine underlying drivers of preemption. These comments produced 18 common themes including local control, food labeling, public health, need for statewide standards, and debate over food regulation.

The results concluded that key themes such as confusion about bill language and coverage, the combination of food and agricultural issues, and backing by multinational corporations helped propel preemption forward in Kansas. Now, food policy stakeholders nationally can anticipate similar arguments and strategies in their state.

To read Dr. Pomeranz’s paper click on https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0890117118823163.