Food policy is an area of public policy concerning the production, distribution, and consumption of food. The policy consists of setting goals for food production, processing, marketing, availability, access, utilization and consumption, and describes the processes for achieving these goals. Food policy can be on any level, from local to global, and by a government agency, business, or organization. In addition, food policy involves schools, regulations, and eligibility standards for food assistance programs; and it involves health and safety, food labeling, and even the qualifications of a product to be considered organic. 
Picture of hands holding rice.
There are three main objectives for food policy: to protect the poor from crises, to develop long-run markets that enhance efficient resource use, and to increase food production that will in turn promote and increase in income. Food policy comprises the mechanisms by which food-related matters are addressed or administered by governments, including international bodies or networks, and by public institutions or private organizations. Food policy is a sub field of public policy, which covers the entire food chain: natural resources, production, processing, marketing, retailing, food hygiene, consumption, and nutrition.
1 Food policies and population health in a global setting
2 Food labeling
4 Criteria table
7 See also
 Food policies and population health in a global setting
In most settings, food policy is linked to the health of a population. The early literature in under-nutrition involving developing countries was concerned with the effects of food shortages on diseases such as marasmus and Kwashiorkor. With increases in food production, consumption of energy-dense foods, and the reduction of physical activity, there has been an increase in the prevalence of obesity in developed countries, in middle income families, and in some developing countries. Such issues are receiving greater attention from nutritionists and health economists in part because of the life-time costs of treating associated conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Also, gains in life expectancy achieved in the last few decades can reduce premature deaths due to obesity and chronic diseases. From the standpoint of food policies, the diets of lower income families within developing countries need to contain higher quantities of nutrients such as dietary protein, iron, calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, in relation to the overall energy intake. By contrast, food policies for developed countries should encourage lower consumption of energy-dense foods such as those high in dietary fat and sugars, while promoting higher intakes of dietary fiber for improving health.
 Food labeling
There are many requirements on how a product is labeled and the information is required to provide to consumers. Food labeling laws require that labels have information of the weight of the product, nutrition facts, and the manufacturer of the product. There have been debates on whether to require information on the country where the food product originated and whether the product contains genetically modified ingredients.
Food policy has been shaped tremendously by the First Amendment and the FDA. The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States (which involves the freedom of speech) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) control much of the information included on food labels.  The FDA is responsible for monitoring food manufactures and processors to ensure they follow strict safety rules. Some safety rules for food include that it is: free of harmful chemicals, not exposed to improper or unclean processing, and safe to consume, etc. Other agencies besides the FDA help with regulations of food policy but the FDA is the main regulator.
Food safety rules change from time to time based on the public and its priorities. A few requirements that change include: food quality, chemicals used in farming, and food additives. An example is that as research develops on chemicals, some have been found to be unsafe and are then banned from use.
Food policy came about after the first meeting of the World Food Council in 1974. A year later, the International Food Policy Research Institute began. Policy-makers gained an interest in the aspects of supply and demand and how supply and demand influence food security. Food policy has been changing since the beginning due to various factors. One factor is the population size. Population size has changed from being rural to mostly urban. Also, jobs were mainly agricultural but have slowly changed to more non-agricultural. Problems with nutrition have also changed and food policy has had to change with it. Lack of nutrition was the only issue but obesity, diabetes, and heart disease have become an increasing problem; despite the fact that there are more nutritional products available.  Due to a constantly changing society, food policy must change to meet the needs and demands of society.
 Criteria table
A food system can be judged by whether it
is technically efficient in social prices is good for nutrition offers security
is allocatively efficient in social prices supports higher standards of education reduces vulnerability
leads to increased consumption by the poor enables people to have status is good for the environmental sustainability
leads to increased asset-holding by the poor enables people to have dignity promotes equality in general
is good for health enables people to have rights promotes social inclusion
promotes gender equality enables people to have influence underpins freedom
Food policy has both political and economic factors that contribute to the challenges it faces. Food policy is not completely based on politics but politics have an impact. Countries that have more political involvement typically have more of an influence on solving issues dealing with hunger and poverty. Countries that have less political involvement may not have as much to do with food policy.
The solution to hunger and poverty can be found by increasing the amount of food intake per individual. The amount to increase by depends on how much food is needed to carry out day to day tasks. Some challenges that this solution faces are: having enough money to afford the cost of food, having the food supply, as well as having enough supply of nutritional foods. Also, having the education on what foods to buy and which are nutritional can be an issue. These are all factors that can cause a food policy to fail.
Food policy involves both consumers and producers. If prices are too high for consumers to afford nutritional food products then it reduces the amount they can purchase. High food prices can cause lower income households to have a poorer quality diet. Producers rely on food prices for income and therefore cannot make the prices so low that they are not able to survive. There is a fine line between supply and demand which creates a challenge for food policy.