Food Economy Report


PHILADELPHIA–Mayor Jim Kenney, with representatives from the Economy League and Health Department, announced the release of a report detailing opportunities to grow the “good food” economy. The report assessed the size and scope of the Philadelphia food economy to discover opportunities to reap the benefits of “good food” businesses and policies. The report showed that Philadelphia is home to 6,500 businesses that grow, manufacture, distribute, sell, or serve food, or eliminate food waste. The food economy employs 79,000 people, comprising 12% of all jobs in the City.

Billy Penn

The info comes from a year-long project by the Health Department and the Economy League to quantify the restaurant industry’s growing contribution to the Philly landscape.

By Michaela Winberg


Meanwhile, Cheryl Bettigole with the Philadelphia Health Department says the bright spots here are that there are lots of small businesses focusing on healthy and quality food.

“We are starting to see reports come out about the burgeoning vegan food movement, healthy food movement in Philadelphia,” she said.

By Hadas Kuznits


City Restaurants

For the first time, Philadelphia has actually quantified its bustling restaurant scene. According to a new report from the Health Department, the city offers just over 6,000 places to eat.

The study pulled together the count of Philly’s dine-in options via restaurant inspections and online searches, per spokesperson Jim Garrow. Anything that’s characterized as “primarily on-premise consumption” and within the city limits is included.

By Michaela Winberg

Food Justice Grants


To solve that, Wagner said, this year the city is trying something different. It’s launched a grant to support food justice initiatives led by the community, in areas where access to healthier food is needed the most. The new program, run in partnership with the Reinvestment Fund, a Philadelphia-based national food justice organization, selected six local projects for a total of $180,000 in funding support.

By Catalina Jaramillo


A new program has been launched by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health aimed at promoting community-based projects to help battle inequitable food access.  As KYW Newsradio’s Hadas Kuznits reports, it’s called, The Philadelphia Food Justice Initiative

By Hadas Kuznits


A new initiative is helping to put healthier foods in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Stephanía Jiménez has the details.

By Stephania Jimenez

Sodium Warning Labels



Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the labels can help customers make healthier food choices.

“For years, healthcare providers have told patients suffering from hypertension and heart disease to cut back on sodium in their diet, and they have listened and put the salt shakers away,” said Farley. “We now know, however, that the largest source of sodium in American’s diets are in packaged and restaurant foods. These warning labels will help Philadelphians take charge of their diet and make the right choices for their health.”



“Eating one of these items alone puts the consumer over the maximum daily sodium intake recommended by the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans and American Heart Association,” according to Fit Food Philly, a city website with healthy food-related information.

By Staff


City officials hope the additional information will help people make better choices.

“One chain has a burger, with all the toppings, has 4,100 milligrams. So with this label, for the first time, customers can easily see which items are extremely high in sodium and if they choose to, they can avoid them,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

By Staff


The new law, which goes into effect Saturday, requires restaurants to place a red or black “Sodium Warning” label alongside any menu items that exceed 2,300 mg of sodium – including combo meals. The law affects any chain restaurant with more than 15 locations nationwide.

By John Kopp


Health Commissioner Tom Farley says the city’s launching a $50,000 awareness campaign about the warning labels.

“We have tested these ads so that people are aware this is something they should look for when they go to a restaurant,” he said.

By Pat Loeb


According to, 71 percent of people’s daily sodium comes from restaurants or processed food.  Experts say high-sodium intake can cause high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and risk of stroke.

By Becca Glasser-Baker

Philly Food Retail Report



The Neighborhood Food Report shines a light on the city’s skewed food environment, Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley said.

“Children grow up seeing chips and candy as normal snacks rather than occasional treats,” Farley said in a statement. “And adults who may be trying to eat a healthy diet are constantly seeing the unhealthy snacks they may be trying to avoid.”

By Jon Kopp


However, Bettigole says, for improving public health, that’s not the full picture.

“The bad news in the report though, was the tremendous amount of unhealthy food in most of the city; and we felt like quantifying that was actually important.”

By Hadas Kuznits

Lower Sodium Hoagie Rolls


“Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is one of the most dangerous threats Philadelphians face. Most people don’t know that breads, like hoagie rolls, are major contributors to the amount of salt that we eat,” said Thomas Farley, MD, commissioner of the Department of Public Health. “I applaud this effort to develop new, tasty, lower-sodium choices that will make eating a healthy diet easier.”

By Annie Korp


Three years ago, the health department received a five-year, nearly $2 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to partake in the Sodium Reduction in Communities Program. One project was to work with Asian buffet restaurants that served lower-income youths, seniors, and adults to serve healthier meals.

The department also looked to purchase foods for city agencies that were lower in sodium, but had trouble finding certain items in the marketplace, said Catherine Bartoli, a nutrition and food service coordinator with the department.

By Mari Schaefer

Enjoying a Healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is all about family, friends, and food, but for many of us, it can also be a challenge to our attempts to stay healthy. It may seem like it’s impossible to enjoy Thanksgiving without ending up consuming huge amounts of fat, sodium, and sugar, but here are a few tricks to make your holiday a bit healthier without taking away the foods you love:

Sodium Labeling Bill Signing

By Adam Hermann

By Mike Denardo

By Tom MacDonald


By Ali Gorman

By Sarah Luoma

Observing Ramadan Safely and Healthily

Fasting during Ramadan can be deeply meaningful, and the Iftar meal after a day of fasting provides both much-needed nutrition and a chance to gather and celebrate with friends and family. But fasting can also be a challenge to efforts to follow a healthy lifestyle. After fasting all day, many people overdo things in the evening, drinking sugary drinks and eating heavy meals full of fatty and sugary treats. This can leave you feeling tired and sluggish and wondering how you can be gaining weight while fasting daily.