No, we are not discussing cooking blogs with this column, but rather the business of food. A significant percentage of the labels printed by converters every day end up on some kind of food product. But food labels have unique requirements that are irrelevant to other industries. Food is a highly regulated industry that is probably only going to become more regulated with all the news of product recalls these last few months. So, many of the blogs reviewed here deal with the legal and regulatory side of food.
Food Law Prof Blog (http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/foodlaw/)
Blog author Donna Byrne is a law professor at William Mitchell College of Law, where she specializes in food law issues. This blog is part of a larger network of legal blogs collectively known as the Law Professor Blogs Network. The Food Law Blog covers all aspects of food law including product recalls, food labeling, genetically modified food, and government legislation. Byrne often has her students chime in on the blog, but you can tell she maintains tight editorial control. Authored by a professor, the blog can feel a bit academic at times, with many blog posts providing an abstract of a referenced article. Byrne's writing style is easily readable, and the blog contains many interesting and relevant topics.
US Agricultural & Food Law and Policy Blog (http://www.agandfoodlaw.com/)
The United States Agricultural & Food Law and Policy Blog wins the award for the longest blog name of any blog ever reviewed here. It focuses on the needs of the agricultural community, but also contains many topics of interest to the label converter. There is frequent discussion of food labeling, in particular country of origin labeling (COOL), as well as food safety and government food policy. One small point I found a little annoying with this blog is that none of the posts have a date stamp so you never know when they are written, but it does appear to be a blog that is updated regularly.
US Food Policy (http://usfoodpolicy.blogspot.com/)
The US Food Policy blog is another blog by an academic. Parke Wilde is an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and the founder of this blog that focuses on food policy issues from a public interest perspective. He has also opened up the blog to some of his students who are interested in the subject, and there are two official blog co-authors. The topics covered here include USDA policy (including the Farm Bill), food labeling, food safety, environmental issues, and food advertising. It is one of the most prolific food industry blogs with posts being written almost every day.
The Whole Foods Blog (http://blog.wholefoodsmarket.com/)
Whole Foods is the only major company in the food industry with its own blog. Whole Foods Market is the world's leading natural and organic grocery store and the place where many small and medium sized food companies sell their products. The blog has about 30 contributors, all employees of the company, and these people are passionate about natural food. It contains plenty of recipes and cooking instructions but also deals with the business side of food. There has been extensive coverage of the peanut butter recall recently, and they regularly profile supplier companies and their products. Many label converters will have customers whose products are on the shelves at Whole Foods (some may even be profiled on this blog), so it can be useful and interesting to get an inside look at the final destination for the product labels we print.
Food Politics (http://www.foodpolitics.com/)
Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health at New York University and the author of the Food Politics blog. She is also the author of the best selling books, What to Eat, and Food Politics. She is a harsh critic of US government food policy, complaining that large food companies have too much influence as a result of their lobbying and political contributions. Nestle writes often about food marketing, food labeling, COOL, food safety and genetically modified foods. She has little time for the large food companies, claiming they are not focused enough on providing truly healthy food choices. Love her or hate her, she is an influential writer in the food industry.