Researching Food Policy Legislation
This is a brief guide to researching current food policy issues and legislation in the U.S. on the internet. Tracking legislation through Congress can be a complicated process. Consult the Government Information Research Guide to U.S. Legislative History Sources, for a step-by-step explanation of the process and the tools, both in print and on the internet, used for following legislation from the introduction of a bill, to its passage into law, to eventual regulatory enforcement.
Background Information & Evaluation in Journals | Sources for Legislation and Policy | Sources for Evaluation Within Government | Other Sources for Evaluation/Information by Research Centers | Other Library Web Pages
Sources for background information on legislation, its implementation, and consequences are:
CQ Weekly via Congressional Quarterly (1983 to present) UCB Access Only
Pre-eminent resource for nonpartisan information about US government and congressional affairs and subjects of concern. This online version also provides access to some articles prior to when they appear in the print version of CQ Weekly. Historical copies:
- GREF: JK1 .C15 Latest Five Years
- MAIN: JK1 .C15; v. 14(1956)-
Congress and the Nation. Quadrennial.
Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 1945-
Each volume covers governmental action during a four-year presidential term, divided into broad themes like Economic Policy, Foreign Policy, or Housing and Urban Aid, with chronologies and further references. Useful for determining intent of both the congressional and executive branches.
- GREF: JK1041 .C6
Congressional Quarterly Almanac. Annual.
Washington, D.C. : CQ Press, 1953-
CQ covers everything that goes on in Congress, indexed; useful to determine dates, chronologies, bill titles and numbers. Also a good source for a succinct analysis of the issues related to a particular piece of legislation. Use the weeklies for current legislation, the annual almanac for prior years. Congressional Quarterly is the best source to use for initial identification of legislation to research. Note: Only bills which were passed into law will have legislative histories.
- MAIN: JK1 .C64; Latest 10 years (1993-) in Government Reference
AGRICOLA (AGRICultural OnLine Access) (1970 - present) UCB Access Only. Also available via
Indexes books, journal articles, audiovisual materials, state agricultural and USDA publications.
Expanded Academic ASAP (1980 - present) UCB Access Only
Indexes over 9 million articles from popular magazines, general interest journals, scholarly journals and newspapers in the humanities, social sciences, and general sciences.
Health care policy journal, featuring articles and papers submitted by various health care policy experts.
Lexis-Nexis Academic UCB Access Only
A source of full text newspapers and news magazines; useful for reportage and public debate of issues.
National Journal Group's Policy Central UCB Access Only
A comprehensive resource on politics and policy for the academic community. Included are National Journal Group's publications and databases including:
- The Hotline
- Congress Daily
- National Journal (back to 1977)
- GREF: JK1 .N28 Latest 5 years
- MAIN: JK1 .N28; v. 5:30(July 28, 1973)-
Indexes books, journals, government documents, statistical directories, grey literature, research reports, conference reports, and web sources related to public policy, politics, economics, and social issues worldwide.
PolicyFile (1990 - present) UCB Access Only
Index to public policy in the areas of economics, politics, the environment, and social issues, taken from reports from a wide range of think tanks, nongovernmental organizations, international governmental organizations, and other institutions worldwide.
Research Library (ProQuest) (1971 - present) UCB Access Only
Indexes more than 2,500 magazine and journals on art, business, humanities, health, social sciences, and sciences.
Social Work Abstracts (1977 - present) UCB Access Only
Indexes more than 450 journals related to social work on topics such as homelessness, AIDS, child and family welfare, aging, substance abuse, legislation, and community organization.
Sociological Abstracts (1963 - present) UCB Access Only
Indexes over 1,900 journals, books, dissertations, and reviews in the social sciences on sociological topics as well as selected anthropology, criminology, demography, law, social psychology, and urban development.
Locate via other sources via UCB Library's Find Electronic Resources page.
Some major U.S. governmental sites and resources for health policy legislation are:
LexisNexis Congressional UCB Access Only
Indexing and abstracting of congressional publications dating back to 1789. LexisNexis Congressional has written submitted testimony for almost all congressional hearings from 1993 forward. There are transcripts of discussion sessions from selected hearings. Coverage from 1988 to 1993 is less comprehensive. CIS Legislative Histories by keyword back to 1970. Legislative Histories are the detailed records of congressional legislation, containing references to all bills, hearings, committee reports, etc., associated with all public laws.
Source for current bills and other legislative activities. Bill Summary & Status and search on "Subject Term" using topics such as "Health Policy" or "Disabled" to retrieve a list of bills that relate to those topics. At the top of the page search previous congresses as well.
Agriculture Deparment. Economic Research Service
- ERS Briefing Room: Government Food Safety Policies
- ERS Briefing Room: Food Safety Policy
- ERS Briefing Room: Food Safety
Food Safety Information Center
Includes Food Safety Research Database a database of more than 1000 research abstracts.
Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC)
National Agricultural Library (NAL)'s information dissemination website.
- Child Care Nutrition Resource System (CCNRS) provides information to persons working in USDA's Child Nutrition Programs.
- Food Stamp Nutrition Connection is a resource system for Food Stamp Program nutrition education providers.
- Healthy School Meals Resource System (HSMRS) provides information to persons working in USDA's Child Nutrition Programs.
- International Bibliographic Information on Dietary Supplements (IBIDS) database provides access to bibliographic citations and abstracts from published, international, scientific literature on dietary supplements.
- WIC Works Resource System serves as an encompassing resource for WIC Nutritionists and other WIC Professionals Nationwide
Legal Information Institute's Laws about..
www.foodsafety.gov: Gateway to Food Safety Information
"From farm to table" resource that includes a section on Food Law and Regulations.
There are some agencies which exist solely to serve as "watchdogs" of other agencies and their expenditures and policies. They include:
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
Supporting research designed to improve the quality of health care, reduce its cost, and broaden access to essential services. Includes food policy issues as nutrition and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
Supporting research to define and coordinate nutrition education policy within USDA and to translate nutrition research into information and materials for consumers, policymakers, and professionals in health, education, industry, and media.
Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
CBO's mission is to provide the Congress with objective, timely, nonpartisan analyses needed for economic and budget decisions and with the information and estimates required for the Congressional budget process. Types of documents to be found here are: Studies & Reports and Cost Estimates.
Government Accountability Office (GAO)
GAO is the investigative arm of Congress. Charged with examining matters relating to the receipt and disbursement of public funds, GAO performs audits and evaluations of Government programs and activities.
Almanac of Policy Issues
Provides comprehensive background information and links on major U.S. public policy issues.
Institute of Food Technologists: Government Relations & Policy Activities
Includes statements and testimonies and "Expert Panel Reports".
National Center for Agricultural Law Research & Information
Created by Congress in 1987, the Center conducts objective legal research and provides timely, accurate, and non-partisan agricultural and food law information to those in the agricultural community.
A nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis.
Welfare Information Network
Clearinghouse for information, policy analysis and research related to welfare, workforce development, and other human and community services. See section "Making Wages Work: Income Supplements for Low-Income Workers" which includes federal nutrition programs.