Licensing Laws: A Strong Tool for Healthy Food
A webinar about incentives, outreach, and implementation
On March 13, 2012, National Policy & Legal Analysis Network to Prevent Childhood Obesity (NPLAN), a project of ChangeLab Solutions (formerly Public Health Law & Policy), hosted a webinar on “Licensing Laws: A Strong Tool for Healthy Food.” Through a review of licensing laws and interviews with colleagues in Minneapolis and Buffalo, New York, participants and speakers engaged in an interactive webinar discussion of how a local licensing law can help get all food retailers in communities across the United States to carry fresh produce and other healthy foods.
Requiring people to have a license in order to work in a particular field or business is nothing new. But local policymakers are now starting to look at licensing programs as an opportunity to make healthy foods more accessible. A licensing law could require all store owners selling food to agree to specific conditions such as stocking a certain amount of healthy foods, accepting SNAP or WIC benefits, or restricting the amount of tobacco, alcohol, and sugary drinks made available in the store.
In this webinar, participants learned how a licensing law can help bring healthy food to neighborhoods that need it most and hear a firsthand account of an innovative healthy food licensing law in Minneapolis from a key player involved in the program. Speakers and participants discussed how to use incentives and outreach to get buy-in from store owners, and talked about the policy and political issues involved in implementing this type of ordinance.