tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN3 May 26, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT
up today. thank you for taking on this topic. i look forward to working with you in any way i can and thank you for giving me a little bit of the nostalgia to return to the committee which i served on in my early days and i enjoyed working with you and being in this room. >> thank you for being here and appreciate your comment this is morning and for your leadership in getting this initiative started. and we'll look forward to pitching in with you on -- i shouldn't say pitching in. but nevertheless helping in with reduction of food waste. >> bee careful about that baseball stuff. >> we'll transition to the second panel. shelly, thank you very much for being with us today. i appreciate it. i would like to welcome the second panel of witnesses to the table. dana gunders, a senior scientist, national resources defense council, san francisco, california. we have mr. jesse fink, the director of mission point and in norwalk, connecticut. mr. john oxford, president and ceo of l and m companies in raleigh, north carolina.
meghan stas, senior director and grocery manufacturers association here in washington, d.c. and diana aviv, kre feeding america in chicago, illinois and emily leib, the director of food law policy clinic, harvard law school, jamaica plains, massachusetts. i'll let everybody get to their seats. all right. miss gunders, if you will begin when you are ready, ma'am. >> ranking member peterson and members of the committee thank you for inviting me to testify today and be willing to explore this issue. any name is dana gunders, i'm a senior science at the national resources defense council and the author of a widely cited report on food waste and a book
called "the waste-free kitchen handbook" which is a guide to not wasting food. imagine walking out of the grocery stores with five bags in the parking lot and dropping two and not bothering to pick them up. it seems crazy but that is what we're doing when we are wasting 40% of our food. we're leaving entire fields unharvesting and eliminating produce for looks. serving massive portions, throwing out food just because it is past the sell-by date and eating out instead of what is in our frig. now imagine a farm that covers three quarters of the state of california and uses as much water as california, ohio, and texas combined. when you harvest that farm, it is enough food to fill a tractor-trailer every 20 seconds and then it drives all over the country and except instead of going to people to eat it, to goes straight to the land fill.
that is essentially what we are doing today. food is the number one product entering our land fills today. this is expensive. all tolled, america spends up to $218 billion or 1.3% of gdp each year on wasted food. beyond money, we're wasting nutrition. more than 1250 calories per capita every day. that is three times the caloric requirements of the entire food in the secure population of the country. and we have not always been so wasteful. in the u.s. we waste 50% more food per capita than we did in the 1970s. this means that there was once a time when we wasted far less and therefore it gives me hope that we could get there again. wasting less food is to the food sector as energy efficiency is to the energy sector. the cheapest and easiest way to meet growing demand.
the u.n. projects increased demand will lead to a 60% growth in food production by 2050 and almost a quarter of that predicted demand could be off-set by addressing food waste. there are far too many causes of food waste to address in a few short minutes but i think it is important to note that wasting food happens to the best of us. as individuals and businesses. we've all had to toss moldy strawberries or clean out the science experiment in the back of the frig and got news is that unlike many of the thorny issues that i'm sure you deal with, this one feels solvable. no one wants to waste food. and people strangely love diving into this topic. i have been amads at the -- amazed at the energy and enthusiasm people have when they come up to me and tell me they found a way to used the wrinkled tomatoes in a sauce or something like that. and because there is direct savings to be had, this enthusiasm has extended to the business and entrepreneurial communities as well and even
modest savings can make a difference. i was asked to give an over view of the problem but in the last minute i would like to suggest a few solutions. i would like to note that the epa has prioritized prevention solutions and food donations over things like animal feed and composting. first address consumer waste. from the limited information we do have households appear to be the largest source of food waste. we recently launched a national media campaign with the ad counsel to address this called save the food with a goal of providing consumers both the inspiration and information to waste less in their homes. if the government were to embrace this campaign and provide additional funding it could vastly extend the reach and the impact of the campaign. second, standardized food date labels as we've already heard. because they misinterpret date labels consumers are unknowingly and unnecessarily tossing perfectly good food and other witnesses will address this.
third, reduce waste within federal government agencies. how much is the federal government spending to buy food that ultimately never gets eaten? this could -- addressing this could both reduce agency costs and also incubating model solutions that others could follow. fourth, address data needs. right now there are some very basic questions that we can't answer. and lastly, support the food recovery act. introduced by representative pingery. it tacks food wastes and includes solutions for many of the discussions in my written testimony. wasting less food is something everything could get behind and in some cases there is even money to be saved. i suspect should you pursue solutions to the movement there is a broad base of support behind you. thank you. >> mr. fink. five minutes. >> thank you, chairman con away, ranking member peterson and the entire agricultural committee for the opportunity to testify today. i'm honored. my name is jesse fink and i'm here as a representative of the
refed multi-stakeholder food initiative. i would like to dedicate my testimony to my wife betsy fink, a farmer like many members of congress who have committed their lives to growing food. i would like to dedicate the testimony to the 50 million americans who struggle with hunger. in a resource endowed country like ours we should conquer hunger and conserve freshwater and create new jobs flu the food wastin ore vags. my journey has been long and shaped by my career as an entrepreneur and farmer and a investor and a philanthropist. i helped fund priceline.com powered by the internet with consumers looking for cheaper tickets. for the past decade betsy and i have learned firsthand how challenging and rewarding it is to be a farmer. similar to price line, we see valuable perishable products going to waste. two weeks ago we asked a team at mission point partners to
address a strategy to address the food waste systematically focusing on the cost effective and scaleable solutions. the huge gap in data was apparent. what resulted was the creation of refed, a nonprofit initiative that recently released a road map to reduce u.s. food waste by 20% in conjunction with detroit consulting and rrs. we've built an vise council committed to solving food waste. and this includes farmers, manufacturers, retailers, waste profiters and government leaders, many of which are here today. and addressing this could address three of the nation's largest problems. first and foremost is hunger. our research found that solutions could double the amount of food donated from businesses to hunger relief organizations. second is economic development. reducing food waste boosts the economy with a conservative estimate of 15,000 jobs created from innovation. in addition, solutions available today could create $100 billion of net economic value over the
next decade. this includes $6 billion in annual savings for consumers, $2 billion in annual potential for profit for businesses, and a reduced burden on taxpayers, including lower municipal disposal costs. much of the economic development will go toward food recovery and composting and digestion. and food waste solutions will conserve up to 1.5% of the country's freshwater and this is lost on farms. in addition reducing food waste will decrease methane emissions from landfills and increase the soil through composting. four cross cutting actions are needed to quickly cut 20% of waste and put the u.s. on track to achieve the broader usda epa goal of a 50% food waste reduction by 2030. first education for consumers and for employees of food businesses. second, innovation. refed has an in ovation data
base of over 200 companies and large companies are supporting entrepreneurs. the results are an opportunity for government mechanisms to support their ingenuity. right here in washington, d.c. companies like misfit juicery and fruit cycle and hungry harvest are start-ups that utilize food that would go to waste. the road map highlights a full spectrum of capital including grants and government incentives and private investment to accelerate the transition to a low-waste economy. financing innovation is required to galvanize the $18 billion needed to achieve a 20% reduction in food waste nationwide. there are opportunities to explore public-private partnerships innovative impact investing to support local companies infrastructure or composting facilities or government funding for early stage technologies. lastly is policy. food waste is a complex issue
but three federal policy priorities stand out as a highly impactable and achievable today. first, make it easier for food businesses to donate food for the hungry. second, standardize date labelling through legislation or voluntary industry action. and finally strengthen and incentives for food waste solutions at the local level such as tax incentives for composting and anda robic digestion. the time is now for our country to embrace the solvable problem and by working together turn it into an opportunity. we can take ten steps to aleve -- take steps to alleviate our economy and boost our natural resources. i thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. fink. mr. oxford, five minutes. >> chairman conaway and ranking member peterson and members of the committee i thank you for the testimony to testify today on the food waste. i'm john oxford, president and ceo of l&m companies based in
raleigh, north carolina, founded in 1964 we are a family agricultural business that grows markets and distributes fresh produce. our products in our crops include a variety of vegetables, potatoes, onions, melons, appleappl apples, pears an more n. addition to my day job, i'm with the marketing association that market fresh fruits and vegetables. pma represents more than 2700 member companies in 45 countries. in the united states, our members throughout the supply chain from growing processing and manufacturing distribution and wholesaling and retail and food service handle more than 90% of the fresh produce sold to consumers. my testimony today comes from the perspective of a grower. dealing with food waste is a complex issue that requires a suite of solutions. when fresh produce goes to waste, we lose the fruits or vegetables and the inputs, labor, energy and water and
fertilizer and if the product has been harvested, cooled and transported, we lose even more. thus, the inventive for producers to minimize waste and loss is significant. our first preference and our goal is that fresh produce reaches its highest and best use, feeding people. at l and m we employ a range of options for produce that is unmarketable and fresh for the consumer. we use outleted not sold through the intended channel. we try to find alternative markets or used and in addition and we supply hundreds of thousands of pounds of healthful fresh produce every year to charities including farmers feeding flo, feeding america, operation blessing and a whoeft of others. in my role as chairman elect of pma i'm excited about the innovative approaches some of my colleagues are taking to further reduce food waste. in fact, most of you probably have one of the earliest examples of innovation to reduce food waste in your refrigerator
at home and we provided some at your desk this morning. baby carrots. they were born from a concern over food waste. misshapen carrots were cut and shaped into the now common baby carrots. in fact, today baby carrots represent 70% of all carrot sales and according to a recent washington post article, this effort to reduce waste is now doubled carrot consumption. recently cisco's produce distributor fresh point introduced the unusual but usable program. though fresh point is a food service distributor it partners with produce growers and taking ugly or imperfect produce that goes to waste and find consumers interested in utilizing this. this reduces the waste caused by cosmetic imperfections and the customers get what they want at a better price point. red jackets in new york like many apple prosers takes the
residual after juicing and uses them to feed livestock. this reduces what goes to the landfill and is an additional supply chain for the grower. and we've provided samples of these cakes at your seats today. and gill's onions, a california based producer and processor installed an advanced energy recovery system that converts 100% of its daily onion residual such as juice into renewable energy and cattle feed. instead of the disposal cost for the 300,000 pounds of annual onion waste, gills onions actually saves approximately $700,000 per year on energy and disposal cost and has significantly reduced its environmental footprint. a final area i would like to address is the important of a strong industry and government partnership to address food waste. encouraging innovation such as new variety development through
traditional modern breeding practices can bring us traits that enhance the crop's ability to with stand stresses due to climate and pest. likewi likewise, food and vegetable shelf life making them more durable for the transportation process will reduce waste. and we need the federal government in the partner of research. the research programs have done great things for our industry and specialty crops in general. and last but certainly not least, we need help on labor issues. many growers are across the u.s. find difficulty finding farm workers and produce is too often left to rot in the field. a recognize this is a difficult issue to tackle politically, but we need congress to take action. significantly preducing our nation's food waste is a challenging endeavor. l and mvp and the produce marketing stand ready to partner with you and my fellow witnesses today to move us closer to a zero waste system. thank you again mr. chairman for holding this important hearing and this committee's attention to the critical issues, thank
you mr. oxford. miss svr tasz, did i butcher your name. >> you are recognized for five minutes. >> members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate this morning on this important issue. my name is meghan stas, i'm the senior director for the grocery manufacturers association representing the food bench and consumer products industry. today i'm speaking on behalf of the food waste reduction alliance, 30 leading companies formed in 2011 by gma, the food marketing institute and the national restaurant association. fwra commends committee for holding this hearing and for your interest in finding solutions. i'll make four key points today. first, we know that first waste is a very real problems and we have a national goal of having it by 2030. everyone has a role to play to get there. second, the food industry has already stepped forward and made considerable progress. fwra brings together
manufacturers retailers and food service companies around three goals -- reduce food waste generated, increase food donated and recycle unavoidable food waste. gma member are working hard to minimize waste as well. in 2014 our company recycled nearly 94% of the food waste from manufacturing and in 2015 donated over 800 million pounds of food. third, we know that more needs to be done and our industry is taking new steps. gma and fmi are taking the lead on date labelling and reducing the consumer confusion. date labelling is important and we're addressing it. but context is important and that is my fourth point. date labelling is not the solution to food waste. there is no silver bullet solution here. it needs to be tackled in a range of ways. an industry can't solve this problem alone. consumers are responsible for 44% of the food waste in landfills. if we're going to make a serious dent, we need to help consumers. but reducing food waste is a priority.
that is why we created fwra. co chaired by on agra and said you canno and wegmans, we have four areas of focus, assessment, best practice and communication and policy. from this work we've seen really tremendous innovation. conagra who makes potpies found they could change the way they were placing pie dough and reduce the amount trimmed off the edge. this change saved them over 230 tons of pie dough in a year. that is food waste that never happened. retailers increase food donation by over a billion pounds in the last decade. kroger is turning their food waste in energy. restaurants are working to reduce waste. yum brands alone donated over 184 million pounds of food since 1992. but let me talk about date labelling. in january gma and fmi board worked to address confusion around date labelling and 25
companies met here last week. it is crucial to provide consumers with the clarity they need. 40 states have laws regulating date labelling. this products in some parts of the kmurpt is contributing to confusion but more needs to be done. date label can tackle 8% of the total over all food waste going to landfill. this doesn't mean we should do nothing but clearly more solutions are needed. and businesses are facing challenges to food waste. supply chain challenges and food safety is mara mount so if a food bank has maxed out refrigerated truck space, food winds up in a landfill. similarly, diverting food waste away from landfills require infrastructure that makes sense. food waste is heavy and it is wet and it requires freak went pick up. if you have to put that material on a diesel truck and drive it hundreds of miles to the next facility, you have lost your environmental benefit. it also has to make business sense. ad can cost millions to build and operate and composting facilities could face permitting
challenges. so even when a company thinks they've found a solution, the composting facility can be shut down and the a.d. could go out of business and the business is back to square one. we're also seeing conflicting regulations at the federal state and municipal level. in some states food waste is banned from landfill but there is no infrastructure. and finally consumers, they are the single largest contributor and our save the food campaign is a great example of what we need to see to move the needle here. so in closing, while challenges do exist, the opportunity is enormous and we look forward to working with the committee and our industry partners and others to reduce food waste throughout the supply chain. thank you for your time. >> thank you. ms. leib, five minutes. >> mr. chairman, ranking member peter and members of the committee i'm honored to testify before you today. each year we waste 70 billion pounds of food suitable for donation. at the same time people in every community across our nation
struggle with food insecurity. to help end hunger, feeding america works with 198 food banks, 60,000 local food agencies, and 148 corporate partners. together we provide 4.5 billion pounds of food to more than 46 million americans each year, including 12 million children and 7 million seniors. of the food we distribute, more than half of it. about 2.6 billion pounds, would otherwise go to landfill. and yet this still does not meet the need. significant gaps remain between the food low-income people need and the resources they have to buy it. diverting excess food to donation provides a triple benefit. it reduces hunger, it protects our environment, and it helps businesses with sustainability. but perishable food must move safely and quickly from the donor to the people who need it.
doing so requires innovative practices, technology know-how and costly physical infrastructure like refrigerated trucks and cold-storage capacity. i want to share with you two examples of innovative platforms that we have developed to divert more excess food to donation. produce matchmaker is an online portal and ordering system that helps produce donors connect with food bank. it is available 24 hours aday and it is a last food -- allows food banks to accept donations in real-time, moving produce to hungry families more quickly. food banks can order produce donations by the pallet rather than the truckload. this saves transportation costs and allows cost-effective rescue of smaller amounts of produce. produce matchmaker is already being used by more than 150 food banks and state associations in fy 16 and collected 125 million
pounds of produce with food banks across 40 states. it will help us recover and distribute significant amounts of produce that is currently wasted. meal connect is our new online platform to facilitate the easy, safe and fast donation of fresh food from grocery and convenient stores and other locations. donors engage online when they have product and are matched to the local food bank. it is the only matching donation software that fully vets donors and recipients to ensure that proper food safety protocols are followed throughout the prose. using meal connect on a smartphone or pc simplified the legitics with a near pantry that could accept it. this is local food rescue in the sharing economy. meal connect is enabled starbucks to launch food share
which will provide an additional 50 million meals ore the next five years as the program rolls out to 7600 starbucks stores across the u.s. but produce matchmaker and meal connect won't solve the problem alone. additional investment in technology and physical infrastructure are needed. the improvements to the enhanced tax deduction for donated food enacted last december will also have a significant impact on food recovery. but expanding the deduction to include farmers and growers, in making it permanent for -- excuse me, for all businesses, we expect that nearly 1 billion additional meals that would have been wasted now will be donated. thanks to you and your colleagues for passing this critical legislation. without it, we would be worse off. to continue food -- increasing food recory -- recovery, additional investments to identify and scale promising
program models are definitely required. policy changes such as standardizing date labels on food and providing usda grants to small businesses and nonprofits to facilitate food recovery would also have a significant impact. as you examine this critical issue and begin preparing for the next farm bill, we stand ready to work with you. i encourage you also to visit your local food bank to learn about food recovery within your district. and thank you very much for the opportunity to testify. >> well, i thank our witnesses for the testimony. >> there is one more. >> oh, i'm sorry miss leib. i jumped river on the end. >> that is okay. for five minutes. >> did my time pass so fast? >> yeah, it did. my apologies. i'm so sorry. miss leib, five minutes. >> thank you chairman conaway and peter son for the opportunity to speak with you. my name is emily leib and i
direct the hard law food clinic. we've worked on reducing food waste for many years and we've come to see intimately the challenges to food reduction and food recovery and i want to high lie a fute issues. first you've heard confusion over date labels is a major cause of food waste. the refed report found that standardizing date labels is the mostwaste and could divert 398, tons of food waste. we've identified two key challenges with date labels. first, in the dating game which we published in 2013 with the nrdc we showed that there's a dizzying array of state laws created to fill the void in federal regulation on this issue. 41 states and d.c. regulate date labels but no two states have the same law which is evidence that these laws are not based in science or sound public policy. new york, for example, does not regulate dates on any food products, but its neighbor massachusetts requires dates on all perishable and
semiperishable products and then heavily restricts sell or donation after the date. second, we found that consumers are confused. on most foods date labels are not intended to communicate safety. instead, they signal a manufacturer's estimate of how long the food will be at its best taste. but consumers toss past date food because of safety fears. in a national survey my clinic conducted this april with the national consumers league and the johns hopkins center for livable future we found that over one-third of consumers always throw food away after the date and 84% do so at least occasion ll a. interestingly, a third of the consumers also believes the federal government regulates date labels. through our work on date labels we've also learned that taifty is a risk for certain food products such as deli meats or unpasteurized dairy if they're consumed after the date. that also isn't communicating clearly to convict assumers. moving forward, we could align with what most other countries do and as representative pingree discussed require a standard quality label on foods where freshness is a concern and a
standard safety label on food that's carry a safety risk aft date. we've been excited to see sow port for standard date labels from companies like wall nart, general mills andiest le and cam bells. standardizing the labels could help consumers make bedecisions, facilitate don naiss of past tate food anden a win for companies. moving on, i'd like to talk about food donation. several of my kol for examples and the chairman mentioned the fear of exposure to liability which hampers food donation. but strong liability protects already exist. in 1996 congress passed the bill emerson good samaritan act which provides a very strong federal floor of civil and criminal liability protection to both food donors and the nonprofit organizations that distribute food to needy individuals. these organizations are protected as long as they don't act with intentional misconduct or gross negligence. but 67% of manufacturers and 54% of retailers still say that the main reason they don't donate is because of fear of liability. food recovery organizations
report that many donors don't know about this legislation or that if they do know they're concerned about the lack of authoritative interpretation of some of the key terms. the act has not been challenged in court so there are no judicial interpretations of it, and it was never assigned to any agency so there are no agencies that provide federal guidance or fill in these gaps or provide education about the act. congress could call on an agency to provide guidance and raise awareness about the act to help address these challenges. closely related to liability is the issue of food safety regulations. in our federalist system, regulations of grocery stores and restaurants takes place at the state level. state health codes vary, but they're mostly based on the fda food code. however, the food code does not inner corporate language around food donation so states lack federal guidance around safe food donation. including food donations and the food code are other federal guidance could help states clarify their safety lieus and better prioritize food donation. lastly, i want to mention the
opportunity for innovation, organizations have begun to test different entrepreneurial approaches to food recovery. several of our client organizations are testing technologies that connect donors and food recovery organizations that convict virtue nonconforming fruits and vegetables into new products or apply retail models to provide surplus food at a low cost. as often happens, these innovations could not be predicted with when the laws were first passed so several existing laws like the emerson act actually posed barriers to the viability of some of these innovations. this committee could address barriers like this and create a friendlier climate for innoes vegas. in conclusion, despite strong lous bayier assist. strenlenning liability protections and food safety guidance and supporting innovation can reduce the amount of footd waste and increase the amount of healthy safe food recov recovered. thank you. >> thank you. and good recovery from my
rudeness. members will be be recognized in order of arrival and i appreciate everyone's understand being. i recognize myself for five mines. sitting here listening to you i suddenly realized that i was among some early adopters of this issue of not wasting food in the sense that as a young mp at ft. hood we would race across ft. hood with sirens blaring and red lights flashing to get to the mcdonald's at 2:00 in the morning to get all of the unsold big macs that we would then take back to headquarters and pass around to our colleagues. so early on i was an early adopter, in addition to growing up in a family where nothing was wasted. ms. leib, would you talk to us a little bit about the differences or challenges differences between rural food banks and urban food banks in the sense of produce, how they get it, access to it. we've heard some of the retailers here a week or so ago talking about particularly small
retailers in rural america have a hard time getting produce. could you talk to us about how food banks in urban and rural areas are approaching those challenges differently. >> the challenge evenings facing rural banks are different than those in urban food banks just transportation alone is probably one of the biggest challenges. recently i had the opportunity since relatively new to feeding america to go around the country and have listening sessions, and in the sessions that brought together most of the rural food banks, the number one challenge that they saw that they faced was transportation. in fact, they asked for us to find donations for replacement of their tires because they had to get to such far distances. but it's not only on the side of the distribution of the food. it's also with regard to the people who are facing hunger. their ability to be able to get together and come to a central location to receive the food is also a challenge. i don't think it's a challenge that we've solved. also because most of the people
facing hunger or more of them are in cities and in concentrated areas, there may be an inclination to want to go to where most of the people are, but yet the needs in the rarely communities are just as great. so we have a balance issue when there are limited resources. >> we did have one retailer talk about the idea of setting up centralized points within the rural communities where they could take the donated produce. ms. stasz, you said i think we had some 40 different state rules or regulations with respect to labeling. you and your team would be supporter oif of a federal presemgs of all of those various state rules and regulations? >> yes, i think a national standard is really crucial. i think emily did a really good job of pointing out the complexity that's existing now and i think that as we think about if there have going to be regulation then federal preemption would be really critical to streamlining that
process and reducing consumer confusion. and we thank mrs. pingree for all of her work on this really important issue and really starting the conversation. >> well, thank you. i do believe the statute of limitations has run on anything i might have just confessed to with respect to my conduct at ft. hood. with that, i'll yield back and recognize the ranking member for five minutes. >>ed thank you, mr. chairman. do all of you agree that to get on our goal here we need a federal preemption of state laws? do any of you disagree with that? silence. it's going to be hard for the stenographers to write that down. >> i'm happy to agree with that. i think as we've discussed -- when we started look being at state lieus on date labels we looked at a handful in new england. they were all different. the more we zoomed out and looked across the country, it's very clear they're not based on
some sort of standard safety information. so i think it makes sense to have one standard that everyone can follow. >> so you'd have to have a federal preemption in order to accomplish that. >> i think so. >> and i'm, you know, a little bit concerned about how this would work because we've got so many people involved in trying to use the labeling and marketing of food. they've got the consumers to the point where they don't know what the heck is going on. you know? it just concerns me, you know, like this gmo issue, you know, they're opposing preemption of that because some people think that it's a good thing for the states to have these different laws. you know, which goes completely opposite of what we're talking about here. and then you've got these folks out there doing these dietary guidelines and trying to push all of that stuff, and we've got a bill that's been introduced that puts the food police in
charge of the ag committee i guess. you know, that are pushing all kinds of ideology there, whatever it might be, confusing the heck out of people. you've got people labeling things "natural" and using it to create stores and so forth. and so i'm just concerned that if we pass this bill that says you're going to have two dates. one is best by and the other is expires, you know, i agree that we need to get -- this is a good thing to do and this is -- if we could accomplish it, it would probably be the best solution or one of the main thing that's could change things. but in the bill, it says "expires on" is the date for not the quality by the i guess
safety date. i think that's -- i don't think consumers would understand what that means. you know, i think you almost have to say "do not consume" after this date. to get them to understand. i'm just -- you know, we're putting so much stuff on this label, all of these labels, that i'm not sure it's going to break through, you know. so i don't know what you all think about that. do you think -- am i off base trying to be concerned about all of this -- >> sir, i have two answers. one in terms of this question about the information being out there. if you go to any store right now, even in the states that don't regulate date labels like new york, almost every product, particularly in the center of the store, has a date label on it. everything from bottled water to vinegar to canned goods, whatever. so i think what's great about this, it's not taking information away.
consumers are used to seeings those and they want to see them. it's just trying to make it clear so that they don't see a million different wunz. i think you're right that no matter what the labels are education is going to be needed. the problem is right now that because there's so many different labels it's impossible to educate anyone about what they mean. i've tried. i'd love to say, this is what you should glean from these. then last the term "spires on" was actually in the national survey that we did last month that i mentioned. we checked six different label languages and "expires on" 54% of people believed that was a safety label, that baz higher than any of the other wupz and the lowest percentage of people who thought it was a quality indicator. again, 54% isn't a lot but it's a start and i think with education it could be built upon that. >> yeah. go ahead. >> just if i may really quickly, i think you really hit the nail on the head that we want to get this right the first time. we don't want to further contribute to consume irkfs so we want to make sure that we are testing consumers to make sure
they understand what we're trying to convey, coordinate with other labeling changes that are coming down the line like the nutritions facts panel and really have industry flexibility to truncate the phrase, make sure it facilities on small packaging to make sure we're harmonizing our standards and language and conveying the right information to the consumer. >> i would say amen to that and if you've read this bill, i am concerned about -- i agree with the goal, but i'm concerned about the way this thing is structured, that you're going to get these different agencies involved in this and by the time you're done you're not going to recognize what you tried to accomplish. you know, i've seen that with the farm bill when i passed the farm bill, by the time it got done with regulations i didn't recognize what we had passed. so i think we have to be careful about how we do this. i agree about what we're trying to accomplish. but if you get too many agencyis
involved and allow too much whatever, you're going to end up potentially with a worse situation. yield back. >> mr. kelly five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member and i thank you, members of the panel. first of all vlgs i just want to say we have a lot of food pantries i'm from mississippi and we have a lot of rural areas. and our food pantries do such a great job and so any kind of reduction, second i rarely do this and she'll probably kill me but my wife volunteers for meals on wheels all the time to take meals to the elderly or people who can't travel and those things and she's -- you know, she never gets recognized. we've been married for 25 years and it seems like she's always behind the seens. by my wife sheila does a great job and we need more of that because there's a lot of people who really want to help people and get this food in the right hands. as a child growing up, my mother used to go to the steal bread store in town and would buy up the doughnuts and things that we
necessarily couldn't afford or bread or other buns and those kind of things. then she would freeze them and we'd eat them all year. as kids we didn't know any different. it was still good food. the thing that's most people threw away we got to eat. so i thank y'all for doing this. ms. stasz, i think i got that right, to what extent is the industry engaged in coordinating efforts to promote uniform labeling? >> we're very engaged. this is a gma and fmi board level initiative right now. we have 25 companies who are working on this to make sure that we really get this right the first time, to make sure the information that we're conveying to consumers is accurate and it's the right kind of information. but this is a really important issue for us and it's something that we're taking very seriously. >> and just -- you know, as a follow-up on that, when we create things here, we don't always get the right results because we don't have the baseline of knowledge that is necessary. we're not the professionals in every area and we have such a
broad rangeful things. so when you guys create the right things for yourself, it prevents us from doing the wrong thing with good hearts and good minds and trying to do the right thing but we sure appreciate your input. how do your manufacturers in your organization now work with different date labeling laws in each state and what limitationses does it put on you because of these laws? >> it's certainly own russ. i mean, our member companies are obviously complying with state law. but it does tend to create a lot of unintended consequences. i think ms. aviv really highlighted some of the confusion around at the food bank level and there's different foods that wind up getting thrown away unnecessarily. there are certainly a call for and a reason for a national standard that the industry is working towards to reduce consumer confusion and prevent some of these unintended consequences of these laws. >> and ms. aviv, to what extent have potential food donors raised liability concerns to you
about a reason to withhold donations? >> thank you. congressman, i think that the issue that we see is lack of knowledge where people new to the space who want to help and want to contribute argue that they can't because they won't be protected. and that it's almost a one by one by one education. unless we can create a systemic way to engage in this kind of work. i was most recently at a conference organized by ohio state university with all of its alumni and so on, and the alumni sitting there talking about food insecurity, people sitting at the front table said that they were reluctant to get involved in this because they thought they were liabilities. these were people who were leaning into this area. so i don't think we should underestimate the degree to which people are not engaging because they think they're not protected. >> and final question for mr. oxford. so-called ugly fruit and
vegetables in many cases have less value in the so-called marketplace. what other opportunities -- you talked about some, but if you can just talk about what opportunities the industry is exploring to add value to these products. >> well, you mentioned the ugly fruit. that's been a growing movement across the industry, one that we participated in and a lot of retailers are helping to do that and i mentioned the food service side is getting involved with it as well. one of the things you have to keep in mind on that is, you know, how things are positioned in the stores or at the food service level. we believe there's great opportunity and it's a huge waste from our standpoint as a grower, we hope every fruit stem and leaf ends up on someone's plate. so just trying to do anything we can to make those products available is what we're trying to do. >> and just a final ant adote.
my dad growing up wouldn't eat white corn. he didn't like it. so my mother put food coloring in it and he said, this is the best corn i've ever had. so sometimes price pointing and other things make it better. "yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. davis scott for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. you know, this is a very serious problem here, and i appreciate you chairman pulling this together. but it seems to be two fundamental areas here that we need to address. the first one is, how do you change human behavior? that is the big issue here. the second big one is, how do we address this issue of where the food waste starts on the farm? i represent georgia, and we are the leaders in the nation perhaps the world of growing blueberries. the problem is that so much of
those blue wer berries are left, wasted, rotting in the fields because we have failed to address the number one issue that we here in congress can do to address food shortage, and that's to make sure our agriculture and our farmers, those who are producing our crops like blueberries, have the adequate supply of labor to be able to harvest them. so we've got to do something about that first. second point is on that, how do we coordinate a better relationship with that if it's an oversupply our farmers would gladly add a much reduced cost rather than to see those crops rot in the field get them to our food banks, like the atlanta
food bank which is one of the more premier food banks with over 75 million pounds of food put out each year. that takes good management resource allocation. now, the other one is on, how do you get to the real? because about 80% of the problem, if we solve it at the first end of helping stop the food shortage of food rotting in the farmers because they can't get the labor because we failed to address immigration from an economic, agricultural, supply, labor standpoint, when we get to the changing of the human behavior, we've got to get into a coordinated partnership with the media. with television. with radio. to be able to change human behavior, educate the public. now, we did this with smoking so it can be done. we changed that human behavior.
remember people said, you're not going to be able to get people to -- but there was a coordinated effort with the leaders in the media industry to help with the kinds of public announcements, commercials that we could. so i'd like to get y'all's response to that. first, let's address -- am i right on this labor issue, mr. oxford? >> without a doubt. that's one of the biggest challenges for us as growers, is not having adequate labor to harvest the crops at times. and when we leave crops in the field, sure, we can dish them in for nutrients for the soil, but that really means the crop is not going to the highest and best use, which is feeding people. >> and how about your ability? am i right in assuming that you would be able to work with food banks in a much better resource
allocation way to be able to get that food so it gets on to the needy people rather than rotting in the fields? >> absolutely. and we already do, as i mentioned in my testimony, supply hundreds of thousands of pounds to food banks annually ourselves, probably that doesn't meet specifications for the customers that we have and so forth. but i think distribution is a big part of the equation that has to be figured out and it's -- there's no silver bul t bullets here. it has to be a collaborative effort from all parts of the supply chain. >> right. now, the reason i mention the human behavior as i looksed at this, clearly 45% of food is wasted at the dinner table. mr. chairman, i think it might be helpful if with we begin to address a way in which we can coordinate some resources at the federal level to help get public
service announcements to get and work with many of our partners in the media and engage them much the same way as we did in changing the human behavior of smoking. thank you, sir. i yield back. >> gentleman yields back. chris gibson, five minutes. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i appreciate this hearing. just want to come in behind mr. scott and concur with his statements, and i appreciate the chairman. i know he's been looking at this too. we have a number of members on the committee who have been concerned about ag labor, serious issues there. i have introduced a bill on this. i certainly don't claim that it corners the market in any ideas here. in fact, i think perhaps at this time maybe what we should do as a committee is just to have a hearing and look into it more. i know the committee is looking at that, and i appreciate that. the second is, and i apologize i was a few minutes late, but i
did learn from the testimony that i did hear from ms. leib, i was interested to hear your comment, really your analysis, of the emerson act which is, from what i hear of you, very helpful in its intent but perhaps needing some refinement, some amendments. and i thought you were very clear in what could be done. you know, i certainly would be supportive of an effort on that score. i just want to make that comment. and then third -- and this is really the question -- i'm curious for the panel, in your experiences, have you seen any best practices as far as information is concerned, a not for profit that maybe is a clearinghouse in a community where, you know, all restaurants and farmers can provide information about what they have so there's sort of in a
community a place where people can go and say, well, here's our inventory of all that's the perish als and perhaps the nonperishables about what's available. has anybody seen anything like that? >> yes. there are in addition to what feeding america is doing with their new platform, there are a few other local start-ups that are doing it. there is a small company based in boston that's doing it for new england right now that is creating a platform that has knowledge of tractor trailers that are being rejected at particular places and are not going to find their intent and then matching those with locations that could use that. so large organizations like feeding america and there's a lot of innovation that's happening at a local level as well. >> i would say that there are
lots of efforts by feeding america to try and get to the very issue that you've raised. obviously, part of the challenge that we face is to make sure that the food -- this whole food labeling issue is not an unimportant issue because we want to be sure that the food that gets picked up is then put if it's perishable in a refrigerator truck, is transported to a safe place, is housed in a safe place before it's distributed. so that even as we are very encouraged by efforts of small groups to do the same thing, we want to be able to be assure that we have a safe, protected standard because if we have stories that come out of somebody getting food poisoning or something as a result of this, that might be perceived by the public as the tip of the iceberg when in fact it was an isolated incident. so we have to proceed here quite carefully. our effort with starbucks that we are now going to do over the
next five years with hundreds and hundreds of stores will give us an opportunity to test this effort because it's a small amount of food from each store, but they are incentivizing us through providing us with enough financial support to be able to purchase refrigerator trucks so that the food banks can go by and pick that food up every single day. multiply that by every store in the cities, in the variety of cities that have food left over. we have to make sure that the infrastructure or the people who pick it up are picking it up and carrying it safely to the place where it then can be distributed to people who need food. so it's a logistics in transportation and safety issue. it's not a lack of will issue. >> just to add to that, there's quite a bit of innovation on that front. there's an organization, a start-up in chicago, that's been
training uber and lyft drivers in safe food handling practical iszs and then allowing restaurants to broadcast via text to a number of food pantries until someone accepts it and then they bring it over very quickly so that it can, you know, get to people quickly. and i would say that there's a long tale to the food. there's big organizations and sometimes they have large kwaunlts but there's also a lot of small restaurants and such that have small quantities but it's still worthwhile to donate. and i think, as mr. fink mentioned, really encouraging the innovation there can serve that sort of long tail. >> i thank the panelists. my time is expired. thanks, mr. chairman. >> mr. walz, five minutes. >> thank you, very critically important topic. thank you to my colleague ms. pingree who i've had an honor sharing a meal at her
home. she takes this to heart and takes food as an important part of our cultural life. which kind ever takes me back to mr. scott and mr. kelly saying. this issue of by training a cultural gee okay rafr, this is an attitude issue as much as it is logistics. as far as labeling and that, it's interesting when you hear people up here talk mohs those of us of a certain generation there's the a pride in the thriftiness around food. i come from a family until i was 12 years old i thought head choose w cheese was cheese my mom was making. when we found out, we still ate it, but it was the idea of that sense of waste that was probably passed on from a previous general yaigs where food insecurity was a real threat to them. you see this around the world. and so i do think getting at that because there's some really interesting phenomenas here. we take great pride in southern minnesota that we feed and cloth and fuel the world. and we have the most efficient producers of food the world has ever seen.
so because of that and then working in conjunction with all of you and ms. stasz your oh, you have become so incredibly efficient at delivering foods from all over the world to our local grocery store and to our homes that it has changed that cultural perception. not that we've gotten lazy or whatever. we don't have to be -- about it. i'm amazed looking at it this week when i go to shop for bananas it's a fine art because i don't want them green because i want to eat them that night. but when i buy them yellow they're bad the next day almost. it's really that supply chain along there that we're trying to get at. so i'm curious. >> i think mr. scott was talking about putting things out in the public, public awareness and all that. but i think ms. gunders you did this right and if anything i've learned from this job as a school teacher, too, maslow's hierarchy, appeal to the bottom of the hierarchy first, how it impacts their safety, pocketbook and things like that then they'll eventually self act you'llize this is the right thing to do, it saves the planet saves those types of things are
we he getting at the heart of the things that is making a difference is the food labeling one of them and maybe throw it out to each of you for your points on this. mr. fink you talked about the data which i think is incredible what you've been able to do to gather data on this. but i think it's very hard. maybe the last one to you, ms. aviv, how did usa food inspectors interact with food banks and some of these on large exiles. i've got in pan tas tick ones in minnesota that do incredible field to plate type of things. you know that's broad and general, but the rest of the country is maybe catching up where all of you are at. and there's win win wins in this if we get this right. this is one of those issue that's is incred blil positive, economically, health wise, reducing government spending on things we'd like to see done. i'll leave my last two minutes for points on. that i know it's very generalized but we've got to get at this. >> yeah. so as i mentioned nrdc has partnered with the ad council on a campaign to try to shift the
cultural paradigm around food waste. it's absolutely correct that if i walk down the sidewalk right now and i throw half a sand witch on the sidewalk people will think i'm crazy because i'm littering but if i throw it in the garbage can people won't quite think much of it. and that's really the paradigm that we are trying to shift there was over 12 months of research that went into the campaign and found things like people don't know they're wasting food. if you ask somebody if it's okay, nobody will say yes. but nobody realizes they themselves are doing it. it's kind of flying under the rad radar. and the other thing is that it's a by-product of sort of people's good nepgss much you want to host a good dinner party, you want to feed your kids healthy food. and there's this by product of waste. we're trying to create a wake-up call that yes, this is happening and also create a positive message that this is something that people can get on board to do bever and trying to shift that culture. and so i think we're trying to
get at some of the motivations behind it through really positive messaging and empowering people to make changes in their kitchens because a lot of it is happening right there. >> i think your question had to do a little bit about the data and what do we do with it. the intent of refed was actually to comb the data that was out there and to create this advisory council of the 30 experts from all the different industries and nonprofits to understand the data and to create a road map which essentially is an action plan of what are all of the areas where food is being waisted and what are the solutions and how can investment be made in one case to accomplish that. and that's where we came up with the 27 solutions and there are investment opportunities for private investors, for philanthropic organizations like foundations that can make grants
to feeding america and other nonprofits. and for corporations to make investments in their own infrastructure. so the first step was collecting the data and creating the road map. now it's an opportunity for individual organizations to figure out how they can invest in the solutions. >> thank you. maybe if we get a second round i'll wait. my time is up to come back around. i want to explore that, the economic potential that comes from this and how you're already doing that. >> mr. moolenaar, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you all for being here. just this number, 40%, is pretty staggering. and i wonder if -- i think most people wouldn't be aware of that, and if there was one take-away that you wanted me to be able to communicate back in my district from each of -- as you've been thinking about this today and throughout your work,
what would that one take-away be that you'd want me to be able to communicate? because i think that number is pretty staggering. then when you look at the supply chain aspect of it, it becomes a much more complicated issue in terms of how to resolve. but is there one thing that you would want me to be able to communicate in my district? and maybe just go right down the panel. >> i think it's that this is very addressable, and it just takes easy steps to do it. it can be overwhelming when you think too much about it, but ultimately if everyone care about this and we all think food shouldn't be wasted it won't be as much. >> i would say that most people are not aware of how much footd they waste personally, and that this problem can be solved starting so much by the consumer and then the consumer can push that to restaurants and to
retailers. >> what i would say is that i think there's a misperception with a lot of consumers that if the fruit or the vegetable doesn't look just absolutely perfect in the store when they're picking it out then it can't be good, and that's simply not true. so support for and encouragement of some of the imperfect or the unusual looking fruits and vegetables, that those are still very healthful products for consumers would be terrific. >> and i'd say the number one take-away is the importance of measurement, whether you're a business, whether you're a household, a city, a state, understanding that getting some numbers behind how much food you're wasting, you immediate lid find opportunities to improve. i for one need to stop buying grapefruits. i just don't eat them. but i can understand how much money i save as soon as i track that every week. and i think that measurement is far and away the best practice.
>> i think there are no silver bullets here because we can't solve all of it doesn't mean that we shouldn't try and solve some of it. one step at a time will get us all the way there. one of the great successes in regard to this area that we think is helpful was the passage of the tax legislation that made the donation of food by small businesses possible, incentivizing them to give. so instead of that food going to waste, now because of this charitable tax deduction, they can donate that. if we can educate our farmers and our small businesspeople in the communities about this opportunity, we can save a heck of a lot, and that will be the first step of many that we can take. >> and i'd say sort of two. one on date labels that for the most part, foods are indicating quality to you and hopefully you can say you're working on trying to make them clear. and then i think the other on the liability, i mentioned the
emerson act is incredible. i mean, it's an enormous amount of protection and the biggest challenge is that businesses don't know about that and having representatives from congress say to them, we have this legislation you're really protected, this is a priority for us could go miles in getting more people to feel comfortable donating food. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> ms. fudge, five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and thank you all so much for being here. mr. chairman, let me just take a point of personal privilege. today is congressional foster youth shadow day. and today i have a foster student with me. her name is ra gene jordan wells who was in the system for five years and is now a student at cleveland state university. so let's welcome her. >> can she stand up and wave at us? >> ragene? >> oh, there she is. welcome. glad you're with us. >> thank you.
and now to my questions. first, let me again thank you all. this has been most enleightoning and very timely, mr. chairman. thank you for this hearing. certainly i do represent the city of cleveland and akron and 20 cities in between. i represent one of the poorest districts in america so this is extremely important to me. as i work closely with my food banks on a fairly regular basis and have my staff go on a regular basis to assist and volunteer. so it is good, ms. aviv, to have you here as i wanted to just remind you that earlier this year mr. rodney davis, my colleague from illinois, and i did in fact request that the appropriations committee provide an additional -- a $100 million for the cost of storing, transporting and districting food. we know that refrigerated storage, we no that moving food is very, very important to making this whole thing work because a lot of times if it's difficult for them to donate the food, they won't do it. so i just want you to be aware
that they did it and thank you for your assistance. feeding america's assistance in helping us do that. and i'm happy that my colleagues have heard today how important it is to make sure that we have the transportation and the refrigeration that we need. ms. leib, we've been talking about the emerson act for some time this morning. but unlike other statutes, there is no -- there has never been a federal agency that really is over this particular act. would it help if in fact there was some kind of guidance by a federal agency that would make persons who come under this act feel better? >> i think so. i mean, i think, you know, one issue is really that there's a lack of awareness which can also be addressed by having an agency that's really tasked with putting guidance out, telling people about it, sharing information. then the other question, there's -- i mean, it's intended to be incredibly strong if you read it you can get that but i
think as attorneys as an attorney myself i can imagine if i were advocating on behalf of a company looking at it and saying there are few terms in here there are unclear apparently wholesome food what does wholesome food is something past date wholesome or not. there are other questions like that that access, for example, that food has to follow federal state and local quality and labeling standards. but some of the labeling standards are not related to safety to even have an agency be able to say, you know, the alorer generals certainly are safety related. that is important to be on food when it's donated. but if the net weight is wrong, someone who will get this food that is being donated, if it says it's 3 ounces and it's really 4 ounces or vice versa, that's not an issue. so i think there's a bunch ever places like that where having an agency be able to provide clarity and raise awareness would go a really long way. >> i've heard on two occasions today that there is no role for the federal government and i'm happy to hear that. i'm happy to understand that my
colleagues would agree that we don't want to have 40 or 50 different states with all different rules. and secondly, that with the emerson act there should be some at least interpretive guidance as to how it goes. so i thank you for that and hopefully we can take care of that of smosome of nose things. you take about labor. are you talking about immigration? what are you talking about? you kind of talked around it. >> certainly immigration is a part of the discourse. know that's a tough issue to tackle politically, but, yes, that's a big part of it. it affects our ability to get the products grown and harvested and to the marketplace, and simplistically we can probably either import labor or import our fruits and vegetables. that's a tough pill to swallow sometimes, but yes, it's a big
part of it. >> thank you very much. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. yoho, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate y'all being here. today, as you brought out, ms. fudge, the foster youth shadow program, we have one with us from the great state of florida, ms. samantha rogers. if you would raise your hand. [ applause ] she's a young lady doing great things and congratulations for being here and sharing with us. ms. leib, i wanted to hit on the emerson act. you've talked xenively about it. and you know to make it further to incentivize the tax things an the clarification in laws, if in your -- in the work you've done with that, if there's any recommendations that you can give us on this committee that we could help draft that, that would surely facilitate that because i think the incentives and the things that mrs. aviv brought up, the tax incentives
for people to go ahead and donate those things because we see it so often. i grew up like mr. walz. i'm from minnesota. i have five brothers, four of them were older. when we sat down all six of us, it was like puppies at the dish. if you were the last one there, you didn't get anything. there wasn't any food waste borrowing up. and then growing up i was on food stamps for a period of time, and we were good misers with that. and then my mom, you know, she taught us how to -- you saved all your food and at the end of the week you had stew. and it was always really good. saying that, being in the agricultural sector since i was about 15 years of age, we've seen a lot of waste. i've worked at produce markets. i've worked at loading docks. and then working with the farmers, we've seen the crops left in the fields and so any recommendations you can give as far as things that we can do up here as far as legislation would be great along those lines. and then i've had a specific question here for mr. fink.
you mentioned consumer education as a cross-cutting action to reducing waste. have you found any specific best practices in educating the consumers and what have you found is the most effective ways to educate the consumers not just the consumer. i wanted to add to that awareness and industry. and i know industry does a good job from the grocery stores, the restaurants, to the farmers and to the families. and have you any cooperation with usda and public service announcements? >> thank you. so the first question on the consumer side, i think we're getting a great start with the ad council and nrdc and a few congressmen mentioned ad campaigns over the years that have changed behavior. and i believe that this will do that. it's a start. it needs to be backed up by
companies providing awareness at supermarkets and restaurants. there are chefs who are circling the hill today who are interested in food waste, and the chefs actually could play a role in changing people's behavior. so i think it start was the ad council, but then companies can play a role and the government can play a role. i would also say on the industry side, we have personal experience, we have a farm and we collect produce, leftover produce, from the local market. every day we go and there's a new person and they're not doing it the same way. so employee training is huge, and that's why it was one of the things that came out of the refed, was not just the consumer training but employee training. >> okay, thank you. ms. stasz you brought up like the grapefruit you buy. i've done that myself. we buy things that sometimes we shouldn't. i mean, that's just up to us. it's a cost-benefit analysis there that we have to make. mr. oxford, i think you brought this up, too, the bruised
tomato. nobody wants to buy that. but if you're in the restaurant business, that's different. you can utilize that. it's kind of like buying a new carrist don't want the one with the dent in it. but again, i think if the retail market or the rest raints moved to like on wednesdays it's brunswick stew because it's the leftovers and those aren't the things that are the shiniest. have you guys seen a difference in the handling of food waste in the rural versus the urban areas? in the grocery stores, restaurants? >> i'll say there are some marked differences but i think overall the general through-line there is a real struggle with infrastructure. so depending upon what kind of business you're operating and where you are, urban or rural, your infrastructure options are going to be really different, right? so if you're a restaurant and you have small amounts of pickup, you're going to have to get someone to come pick up that material really, really frequently if you're in a city. then it has to go a really long way away to go to a composting facility or -- fa stilt and you could lose your environmental
benefit by putting it on the diesel truck. i think for all businesses increasing infrastructure options to make sure we're meeting the 50% reduction goal is going to be really critical. >> okay. thank you. i yield back. >> mr. mcgovern, five minutes. >> thank you. thank you all for being here. this has been excellent testimony and it's all common sense and it's all doable. it doesn't seem like it's rocket science to be able to implement a sensible food waste policy in this country. if i have a suggestion, we should just put you all in a room, write the policy and tell us to fund it and we're done. because i think you represent the vast array of the players that need to be at the table. a few weeks ago i was invited by the amherst cinema to react to a show called "just eat it." it was a couple who decided to live for six months on food waste. at the beginning of the film they thought they couldn't do it, they wouldn't be able to find good food waste to be able to live on.
by the end of the film, they gained 20 pounds because it was so plentiful. and they were able to eat relatively healthy, but they ended up eating a lot because they uncovered so much discarded food. they went to dumpsters at supermarkets and uncovered huge amounts of discarded food. they went into the supermarkets to try to buy food like bananas that were being taken off the shelf and they were told by the people at the supermarket they couldn't sell it to them. so they discarded it and they went to the dumpster and got it. they had so much food left over they had a banquet at the end for all their friends. the bottom line is, we waste an enormous of good, nutrition, healthy food that not only could feed hungry people but quite frankly could be utilized in our schools and so many other places. and we need to fix this problem. there's an environmental aspect of this, too, moving away from landfills going into digesters
and composting and feeding animals versus kind of the way we're doing it with landfills. but i come at this issue primarily from the hunger aspect. we've got close to 50 million people in this country who are hungry. we should all be ashamed of that. and while what we're talking about today is not a substitute for snap or wic or other feud nutrition programs, keirly getting good new trigs food to people who are struggle willing is really important. so then we get to the infrastructure issues. you know, on that panel i was on, it was a farmer who out of the goodness of his heart kind of brings his excess produce to the food bank of western massachusetts. but he didn't get any incenti incentives. he doesn't -- there's no -- it's hard, and he's a small farm. i think a lot of people are faced with this. they don't have the labor force or they don't have the refrigerat refrigerated trucks to do the transporting of the food. then even at food banks there's a limited amount of
refrigerati refrigeration. then you could talk about trying to get it to smaller stores or whatever. they have ai limited amount of refrigerati refrigeration. in tfap, we authorize $100 million for transportation and storage. we never funded it at that. it's like half of that. so at some point we've got to figure out a way to fund this. and ms. aviv and mr. fink, maybe we could talk a little bit about the infrastructure challenges especially when it comes to feeding the hungry in this country. you know, how do we piece together the funding? how much does it cost in? how do we do this? >> gosh, i'd have to get back on you about how much it costs altogether. we were hopeful it would be funded at 100 million. i couldn't tell you whether 100 million would solve the problem. but it would sure solve more of a problem than $59 million. simply because the need is so great. and with 50 million people or near 50 million people face hunger in the united states, we
have a big problem. and all of the food that we provide which is well over 3.5 billion meals is just a small part of what we're able to provide. the infrastructure is on two levels. it's what i mentioned before, the one side is the refrigeration and the transportation and our being able to harness it and keep it safe, the food safe. the other side of it are the people who need to access this. in rural communities it's much more difficult, but within the cities it's a problem as well. we also have big challenges in when we get donations there may be a whole lot of one item and it may be nutritious but not everybody can live on carrots alone. so we need diversity. mixing centers and a variety of things that make it possible for people to have access to all of this. >> right. >> i think that being able to harness more of the food that's going to waste would go a long way to solving the problem, but it wouldn't solve the whole problem. >> mr. fink?
>> i think the good news is there really isn't that much capital needed on the infrastructure side in the grand scheme for the recovery standpoi standpoint. and it's needed and we've all talked about a need for information technology and infrastructure like refrigerator trucks and refraij rairts at food banks and stuff like that. in the grand scheme that isn't a huge amount of capital. think about we talked about uber for food waste. that's really when you look about it, it's sort of infrastructure light in that perspective. the other point you mentioned is the environmental aspect. and that there is a large need for capital for composting and an aerobic digestion. you know, that requires a significant amount of capital. i guess i will say that the private sector is very interested in participating in that capital structure. foundation and impact investors are very interested so there's the opportunity for public/private partnerships i
think there needs to be some signaling from you all of what needs to be done but there's a very willing investors on the other side. >> thank you. thank you. >> i would tell the group that we are working on getting a screening for our members and staff of "just eat it". >> great. >> we'll keep everybody posted on that so all of us can have a chance to take advantage of watching that experience and see what we can learn from it. mr. crawford, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the panel for being here today. i want to switch gears a little bit we had an awful lot of pushback from schools superintendents, teachers, parents, coaches when the national school lunch program rules changed back i think in 2012. it started being implemented that school year. and the complaint we got from school districts was just huge amounts of waste, where children were just not used to the menu
items and so they would essentially turn up their nose at what they had been offered and, you know, the standards aside the waste was one of the biggest issues. so administrators or superintendents rather are challenged by trying to take their food budget and cash flow with general funds. anybody given any consideration to how you analyze food waste in schools and what we might do to heavy alleviate that problem? anybody want to comment on that? >> i'll say one thing briefly. i think there's really great opportunity in schools both in the cafeteria and in the classroom. a couple of people have alluded to other places where we've made a lot of progress in social change and aloft that is also things like smoking, recycling, where we actually talked about them in schools. so there's a really good opportunity to kind of point this out to kids. and then in terms of the cafeterias and the school lunch rooms, i think there's still some confusion like so many things we talked about around
liability protection. i think there's opportunity within even the emerson act to really clearly with guidance to say to schools, here's how this also applies to you. usda is doing good work on this. they've put out info graphics and information about having sharing tables and donate food. but more can be done definitely. >> i would add that the flip side is that the more we can do to kind of get kids to eat their fruits and veggies the left waste there will be. so i think the solutions are the same and there's been a lot of documentation of efforts like the farm to table work and marketing produce to kids and some of those things that -- recipes that make the food taste good so it's not just sort of veggies out of a can that look drab or things like that that can really help to both address waste as well as health and fruit and vegetable consumption. and also i think the ideas
around share tables in schools is very opportune because, you know, you have these kids who are taking a full carton of milk because they have to take it and throwing it straight in the garbage can. and that is just a shame. and a huge waste. and i think there's real opportunity for guidance along with the funds that are delivered through the school program to really direct schools to allow for sharing of that food. >> mr. oxford? >> there's a new program in texas called brighter bites and it's a unique partnership between food banks schools and growers and packers to provide 50 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables to students in at risk schools for free. and this program introduces new products to children at a very early age while providing educational materials to their parents on menu ideas for using them and so forth. 98% of the parents reported that
their children ate more fruits and vegetables while participating in the program and 74% were able to maintain that increased consumption after the program ended. so as ms. gunders said, trying to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables would be a big help. >> yes, ma'am? >> maybe our experience in other areas might be helpful here. we have a program that focuses on foods to encourage and our experience is that even though we might think that there are a whole range of foods grains and produce and proteins that are healthy and good for folks to eat it doesn't mean necessarily that they will lean into it if their life experience was different. and we have learned from the work that our food banks and pantries have been doing is that the way in which it's presented, the way in which it's talked about, the way in which it's approached makes a big difference. simply putting it on the plate, if kids have not seen it before and adults for that matter, won't get us to where we want to go.
but an education effort, encouragement, presentation makes a big difference. it's also true for people who walk into supermarkets when it's beautifully presented they lean into it and want to do it. we need to apply it also in this area. >> indeed. just as an aside in the time i have left, we actually have a hearing to this effect in my in district o'and collected a lot of comments to address the school nutrition program, and i think one of the i thought most productive comments came from one of the moms on the panel who suggested these programs be implemented on a gradual scale, that is, k through 2, as opposed to k through 12, and graduate that into implementation over time so that children are -- sort of grow into, as you suggest, making healthier food choices. do you agree with that? >> i'm not an expert on whether that's the right age group, but certainly the notion of encouraging people and not
forcing them and making it a delightful thing to do rather than a required thing to do is likely to succeed. the particulars i'll leave to other experts. >> thank you. i'll yield back. the gentleman's time has expired. >> the gentle lady from north carolina, ms. adams. >> thank you, mr. chairman, and thank you all for being here. it's been really great testimony. let me just take a moment to recognize my foster student from greensboro, north carolina, my home, jamie wharton. and if jamie's here, if she'll stand up. >> jamie, thank you for being here. [ applause ] >> thank you. next week will be the one-year anniversary of the adams hunger initiative that i launched in the 12th district in north carolina to raise awareness of the high level of hunger and food insecurity in the communities that i represent. north carolina ranks ninth in the nation. and my district, first in the state in terms of food insecurity. so we have a serious problem. i've been concerned about that. hunger is a consequence of not having a good-paying job that
earns enough food to put on the table and to raise a family. and as some of you have mentioned today, developing food recovery as a business model will help local farmers stay in business, create jobs to help with the additional prarpgs, and distribution of donated food to those who need it. my first question is to the north carolinian on the panel, mr. oxford. mr. oxford, your testimony lays out several ways that your company and other members of the produce marketing association are finding innovative ways to reduce food waste and to maximize the use of leftover produce within our nation's food system. so what support can both the public and private sector provide to farmers to educate them on opportunities and incentives to move more food products that are not destined for market to food banks? >> thank you, representative adams. and appreciate your support here in washington, d.c.
we believe there's opportunity for greater education across the board. our experience with lnm has been very positive in working with the florida association of food banks and the feeding america program and others. and ensuring that producers understand the options is helpful but equally important in reducing food waste is educating consumers. we've already talked a little about some of the things. we've talked about the need to change behavior that one of your colleagues mentioned. and i think that's very critical from -- if we want to make a real difference and move the needle here. changing behavior in our senses speaking on behalf of the produce marketing asoefgs, that beginning that dialogue and trying to change behaviors starts at a young age. that's where we learn our habits and our values and so forth. one of the things the produce marketing association has been involved with including with the
partnership for healthy america and the white house has been a program called eat brighter. and i should mention sesame workshop, which has provided their assets, their characters for free to put on the packaging for fresh produce. so changing -- having a collaborative dialogue and getting more people involved is critical. >> thank you. miss aviv, several universities in north carolina operate campus kitchens. these student-run organizations use university facilities to turn donated food in to meals for those who need it. what federal laws protect campus kitchens and food donors from liability? what recommendations would you make to encourage more farmers and food processors to donate unwanted food products to food pantries and feeding organizations? >> thanks for your question and also all of the work that you do in this area. as you know, the federal bill emerson good samaritan liability
protection act, which we've talked about some today, quite a lot, makes it possible to provide protection for people donating fit and wholesome food to a non-profit organization. and it provides critical assurance of liability protection to donors. and while there may be some ways in which it can be strengthened, the big challenge that we face is that too many people don't know about it, including on campuses. and the degree to which we systematically educate people about this is the degree to which i think that we'll be able to increase donations in a meaningful kind of a way. >> okay. would feeding america support being able to use funds from the emergency food assistance program to directly purchase leftover produce from farmers? >> that is a very complicated question because our experience is that in fact the tfap purchases right now with tfap friends, we already do that.
that's what we believe. and that we do it at scale. and that at this point in time for us to change that we're not sure that that would be the right way to go. but that said, there's an opportunity for us to take a look at how to do it with smaller donations because we're doing this at scale and we would be very happy to work with you and others to look into that. >> well, thank you. i'd love to do that. and i yield back. my time's up. >> the gentle lady's time has expired. miss lujan grisham, five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thanks again for such a great panel in highlighting that while we need to do more so that individuals and families are not so food insecure in this country, i make this statement at every hearing because until it's resolved it hurts me every day to remind all of my colleagues and everyone who comes before this committee that
new mexico is still one of the hungriest states in the country. and every single day i know there are children in my district and in the state who are some of the hungriest children in the entire country. so the work that we do that leverages, that makes sure that we're encouraging, as you do, incredible private work as well as i think our responsibility to change a variety of systems so that people really have the support that they need to be food secure and to have all the other necessary basic issues addressed in their lives so that they can be successful. and i know that this question's been asked about -- we're limited in what we can really do and accomplish because for every donation there's an issue about getting it picked up and storing it and far too much money
actually is needed to do that. and in fact, i have a bill that says look, let's put 100 million in so that we're not asking food banks to decide between having food available for their families or paying for the administrative -- i'm going to call it administrative, or the other structural issues. which is storing and transporting this food. so i know that that's been asked, what else can we do. but maybe the thing to do is are there any private groups who are looking at until -- and i hope i convince my colleagues to support my request to put more money in, to not be borrowing or leveraging in this way, to be very clear that we need to pay for transporting and picking up and storing foods. i actually have a situation in my district where we had to say no to corn because we let it spoil because there was no way to go get it from the farmer who was donating it. there was no way for us to deal
with it. are there businesses or groups who are now looking at ways to maybe invest in the transportation and the storing? there are folks in the feeding america environment that i can reach out to until we get this problem resolved. in my state in particular. in the southwest region. >> i would say there are a number of burgeoning businesses that are kind of addressing that problem through a private sector lens. so for instance, there's a company called imperfect produce that just started in california, and in just a few months they have over 3,500 people subscribing to their produce box. the offer -- that is all kind of seconds of produce. they offer it to people who qualify for snap at a reduced cost. it's already reduced because it's imperfect and then further reduced and it's delivered to their door. sow don't have the access issues. they don't have to go to the grocery store that may not be near them, et cetera. and they're getting basically
$20 worth of produce for $5 or so delivered to their door. so i think there are some private sector solutions like that that are coming. >> i love that. do you think the private sector solution -- i'll ask them directly. so thanks for that heads-up. but you know, the challenges -- and not that they couldn't figure it out in my state. but it sounds like i'm diminishing. but when you're not urban, much harder to make those deliveries. and in a state where we have the worst economy in the country, the folks able to really do that and successfully manage that business model, it's been really tricky. do you see ways for really challenging states, rural, food deserts, not urban populations. if you're going to deliver a basket, you're going to drive 100 miles. do you see ways and strategies that are being developed with really challenging environments like mine? >> yeah, you know, what i would say -- >> i love that idea. thank you to the panelists. >> earlier we talked about modifying the standards for procurement.
and i think, especially in your state and states nearby, there's so much that's grown and so much that's coming in from mexico that is getting rejected because it doesn't meet the absolute perfect standard. and there's a real opportunity for less perfect fruits and vegetables being processed. they don't have to be shipped and refrigerated. they could be processed and then be shipped in a different form. and so to me there's a huge opportunity to take a look at all of the fruits and vegetables that either are left on the farm or left somewhere in the supply chain and do some value-added processing and then be able to turn them around into rural communities. >> i appreciate that. and i'm already out of time. but i appreciate these ideas and the chairman's continued patience with me. these are really important to feeding families in my district, mr. chairman. thank you. >> the gentle lady yields back. turn to closing comments by the ranking member.
>> mr. chairman, this is a very, very good hearing. and i think we accomplished a lot in this hearing. i hope we can take that away. i am particularly concerned, mr. chairman, i hope we've registered the point that we've really got to get our farmers, get our agribusiness community to get before this congress and share what is happening. and i really think because of our failure to deal with the immigration issue from a labor economics issue as it impacts food waste, which we see here, because they can't get the labor in the fields to get the food in the first place. and that is something we can do something about. and also, mr. chairman, as i mentioned, i think we need to coordinate a whole lot better with our food banks and to have this food waste in there when it could be beneficial to our food banks, the pieces of this is right out there.
we've just got to reach out and grab it. and finally, changing that human behavior and mr. chairman, you mentioned to me a very good thing there when you whispered in my ear something that you all had a saying in the army. and i said to you, that -- if we took that to some television people and radio people, we could turn that into -- you could grab hold and educate people. would you share that with us? >> you're going through the mess line and the mess sergeant would say take what you want but eat what you take. >> take what you want but eat what you take. do you know -- i mean, that could be a great commercial. that could be a great deal. and who better to get on television to say that than you? we say that across the country. but seriously, mr. chairman, we've got to change that human behavior. and i think -- hopefully we touched some things on that. thank the panel. appreciate your coming. >> i too want to thank our panel
and thank the gentleman for his comments. i want to thank our foster kids in the room. thank you all for being here. hope this has been instructive and not just boring you to death. we're talking about good stuff and one of the more rare bipartisan exchanges we've had today because i don't think we could find too many people who are in favor of food waste. that's a rare individual that would be in that case. i'd also like to get in the record several you have mentioned the tax deduction and how important that was. you gave credit in the omnibus bill, the much maligned am anybodyus bill that many of us on our side of the aisle just got beat to death because we were supportive of it. it was in the tax bill. both those were negotiated together. the same thing. so i appreciate you helping us, those of us that were criticized for passion the omnibus bill. there were some nuggets of good things in there. i'm also encouraged, we're trainable. look how quickly we adapted sneezing into our elbows. as soon as elbows started doing it on sesame street that blew up
and we all now do that as a matter of course. we face water restrictions in west texas because of the drought. we ask people to turn their faucets off while they brush their teeth. that became a habit. and water reuse has dropped. didn't change anybody's lives but it helped a little bit of time every single day we went on. we announced it at 1:30 in this space we'll have the food waste fair while we have booths manned by a lot of folks coming around to show the good work that's been going on and to begin to highlight that. i do think their role for public service announcements to help other people become more cognizant of it and sensitive to the fact we don't throw things away. one of those other sayings from my early youth, and i'm haunted by is my mother used to say you need to be a member of the clean plate club. well, that had mixed messages. but it's because today i eat too much and i'm overweight. as a child my mother wasn't interested in wasting food. there are all these kinds of things that we can be better at and i'm encouraged by that.
thank all six of you for coming here today, sharing. miss gunders, i think you get the prize for coming the furthest, from san francisco. but we do appreciate all the work that you do. it is collaborative work, and there's only winners in this deal. and this is something we should be able to get our arms around as we move forward. again, i thank our witnesses for being here today. under the rules of the committee the record of today's hearing will remain open for ten calendar days to receive additional materials, supplemented written responses from the witnesses to any questions posed by a number. this hearing of the committee of agriculture is adjourned. thank you.
hearing. members will hear testimony from airport executives from across the country. that will be live at 9:00 a.m. eastern on c-span 3. centers for disease control and prevention tom frieden will talk about the zika virus outbreak and what's being done to prevent its spread. at a briefing in washington, d.c. we'll take you there live at 1:00 p.m. eastern. this memorial day weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. saturday evening at 6:00 evening on the civil war. >> sherman could not have agreed more, and by the time he captured atlanta in september 1864 his thoughts on the matter had fully matured. once again a rebel army had been defeated and another major city had fallen and still the confederates would not give up. so rather than continue the
futile war against people, he would now wage war against property. >> georgia historical society president todd gross on union general william tecumseh sherman arguing that sherman's march to the sea campaign was hard war rather than total war and that his targets were carefully selected to diminish southern resolve. sunday evening at 6:00 on american artifacts take a tour with senate majority leader mitch mcconnell. viewing some of the oldest rooms in the capital like the republican leader's suite, conference room, and his private office. >> and i have the good fortune to actually be here on august 28th, 1963 when martin luther king made the "i have a dream" speech. now, i confess i couldn't hear a word because i was down at this end of the mall, he was on the lincoln memorial looking out at throngs, literally thousands and thousands of people. but you knew you were in the presence of something really significant. >> then at 8:00 on "the presidency," former aides to lyndon johnson and richard nixon talk about the role of the
presidents during the vietnam era. >> lbj anguished about that war every single day. and that is not an overstatement. the daily body counts. the calls either to or from the situation room often at 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning to see if the carrier pilots had returned. >> historian h.w. brand is joined by former lbj aide tom johnson and former nixon aide alexander butterfield to explore the president's foreign policies during the conflict. monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. eastern on real america our five-part series on the 1975 church committee hearings convened to investigate the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs, and the nsa. with testimony by cia director william colby, the fbi's james adams, nsa director jen lou allen, fbi informants, and others. >> we are here to review the major findings of our full
investigation of fbi domestic intelligence including the co-intel program and other programs aimed at domestic targets. fbi surveillance of law-abiding citizens and groups, political abuses of fbi intelligence, and several specific cases of unjustified intelligence operations. >> for the complete american history tv weekend schedule go to c-span.org. this week on "washington journal's" spotlight on magazines, a conibutor for "reason" joins us to discuss funding the war on terrorism. >> and we continue today with our ongoing spotlight on magazines series, featuring a recent edition of "reason" magazine. and inside that is this piece. the high price of security theater. the $4 trillion war on terror.
where did the money go? jim bovard joining us, a contributor to "reason" magazine, to talk about this piece that he wrote. let's begin with this $4 trillion price tag first. how did you come up with that number? >> well, this is the total cost of the homeland security, the war on terrorism at home, and the cost of our wars abroad. in the last 15 years the u.s. government seized far more power. it's killed a huge number of people. but killing foreigners is not a recipe for keeping americans safe. and it's unfortunate the entire political culture in this country has changed. people became far more deferential to washington. and it was almost as if people had to maintain faith in the government keeping us safe or else we'll all be killed. the government has been able to be far more secretive. the government has -- both the bush and the obama administration have acted like the constitutional law does not apply. and part of the result is a torrent of government spending, most of which is wasteful and some of which has directly
destroyed our freedoms. >> there hasn't been another 9/11/2001 terrorist attack since 2001. so is it money well spent? >> there was not one -- not a major attack like that before 9/11. so i mean, simply because there hasn't been another massive attack doesn't prove that all the stuff the government is doing is justified because if you -- you know, a lot of people tend to look at the war on terror with a broad brush overview. but what i try to do in this article is walk through the details, walk through the absurdities, walk through some of the details like for instance homeland security is financing fusion centers around the country, which are creating these data bases of suspicious activity. and for instance, out in los angeles there's a data base that was keeping track of people that were hanging around talking on their cell phones too long or joggers who were hanging out. there's other data base that's have targeted gun owners or libertarian types or people that
are anti-immigration. and you have these huge garbage bins, federal garbage bins which all these different agencies are tossing in unverified information. it's building up millions of dossiers on americans. and this information can and will be used against people. and so it's not simply a laughable boondoggle, but these are programs which are deadly perils to our liberty. >> $1 billion since 2001 spent on these fusion centers. >> well, senator coburn had a great report on this. and he was -- you know, he asked some simple questions of the homeland security, well, how much did you spend? we don't know. homeland security gave him estimates that varied 400%. this is not a difficult question. and not only that, but the feds cannot even say how many different fusion centers that there were. at one point they were saying 71, 72. well, it's 77. where are the others? they're a secret. i mean, it's amazing how much secrecy the government has
gotten away with in the last 15 years when so many times the veil of secrecy simply covered official lies. we saw that with the invasion of iraq. we've seen that with the -- obama's drone program. we've seen that with some of the shifting rationales for our bombing of libya. and yet folks don't realize that if the government's allowed to keep secrets and lie to them then self-government is a charade. >> the biggest price tag you note in your piece is the war spending. $3 trillion. so of this $4 trillion that's been spent, 3 trillion has been on these wars. explain. >> yeah. the most expensive single issues have been the war in iraq and the war in afghanistan. and the war in iraq was justified as a response to 9/11. the bush administration sought to make people work very hard to give the impression saddam had a link to 9/11 even though they knew it was false. three or four years after the invasion they backed off of
that. for a while they said they were bringing democracy to iraq. that hasn't worked so well. they've also said that they're trying to get better treatment for women. that hasn't worked very well. same thing in afghanistan. i mean, it's understandable the u.s. would have gone after the taliban after afghanistan had been used as a base for the 9/11 attacks. but there was no need to occupy the country. and we have spent vast amounts of money and thousands of american soldiers' lives in this charade of making afghanistan a democracy. and they've had two major presidential elections, both of which were decided by massive fraud which the u.s. government admitted and then say, well, but the government -- it's still kind of legitimate so, we'll keep propping it up. american soldiers have died for nothing in afghanistan and iraq. >> the war on terror. the cost according to "reason" magazine and jim bovard, $4 trillion since 2001. we're taking your comments and your questions on that this morning.
democrats 202-748-8000. republicans 202-748-8001. and independents 202-748-8002. start dialing in. also one of the other big price tags is the fbi. $30 billion. what was that money for? where has it gone? >> well, the fbi has got a huge increase in its budget even though the fbi screw-ups with a major reason the 9/11 hijackers succeeded. there was a huge effort to sweep the federal failures under the rug after 9/11 but the cia and the fbi failed massively as far as keeping track of the people that ab apparently carried out the 9/11 attacks. there were so many warning signs, but the feds were simply incompetent. and yet in spite of being incompetent they've gotten huge increases in the budget. one thing the fbi has done has been massively engage in entrapment. they've been setting up people all over the country.
there are some people who are actually dangerous. but what the fbi has often done is just find knnitwits and persuade them to do some babble about islam and a number of times the fbi's given them mock bombs or fake things and then busted them. it works out great for the fbi. they have two or three days of great headlines and everybody's saying thank god they keep us safe. a week or two weeks or a month later the details come out and it looks like brazen entrapment. you had the case down in liberty city, miami. we had five or six guys who were roped into this by an fbi informant and those guys were so dumb that they asked the fbi guy for terrorist uniforms. okay. we don't need protection against would-be terrorists who ask for uniforms. okay? but this is the kind of thing that works out great for the fbi for their pr and their budget. and unfortunately most people in congress have been utterly
cervserve isle both on the fbi and other agencies. congress is supposed to do -- most of them have lined up to polish federal boots in the war on terror. >> you note in your story trevor aaronson author of the terror factory, inside the fbi's manufactured war on terrorism, he estimates only about 1% of the 500 people charged with international terrorism offenses in the decade after 9/11 were bona fide threats. >> yeah. and his book is one of the best analyses, one of the most thorough breakdowns of that. and here's another thing. a lot of the trouble with the war on terrorism is the definition of terrorism because it's very vague and it's also very -- it works out well for the government. because if some american sends $100 to some of these groups in syria that have been classified as terrorists that american can be sent to prison for five years for material support for terrorism. but if the u.s. government decides to send the same group a
bunch of weaponry, well, that's not a problem. our policy in syria epitomizes the irrationality and just the mindlessness of the war on terror. "l.a. times" reported a month or two ago that in syria right now there are cia-backed rebels fighting pentagon-backed rebels. okay. do we really need to have this -- the u.s. government has gotten in the habit of intervening so often on every side of the issue that these kind of absurdities occur. but because it was the "l.a. times" and not the "washington post" people in washington say i didn't hear about that. we have trouble with attention deficit democracy on capitol hill as well because most of the congressmen are very poorly informed about the war on terror. as well as being servile. >> kim is up first in santa cruz, california. independent caller. hi, kim. >> caller: hi. i'm very concerned that the constitution is not being --
what do i want to say? not being held up. when they go and do an assassination on osama bin laden, who is actually -- what did seymour hersh say? was actually just sitting there a prisoner of war. how i feel like our congress is criminal. why isn't -- why wasn't bush ever put in jail? cheney ever put in jail? i don't understand any of this. >> it's a really good point about the constitution. it's very frustrating to me because i was raised and told that america was a nation that obeys the law and that we have rule of law in this country. but for the war on terror it's almost nothing but sovereign immunity. the government can do whatever it wants and the government is never prosecuted. as far as the constitution, the eighth amendment prohibits torture. and as well as federal law prohibited torture. yet you had starting in 2002 the
bush administration embraced that. and then obama came into office and he chose not to prosecute the people that were involved in torture except for the one cia guy, john carrick, who blew the whistle on the torture. he was the only cia official prosecuted for torture even though he was a hero. and the fourth amendment, which protects us from unreasonable sour searches and seizures that has been completely shredded in the war on terror. if you look at what edward snowden courageously brought out, why have there not been any indictments on that? but instead you have a rationale in washington where they circle the wagons, it doesn't matter what laws were violated, it doesn't matter how many americans' rights have been trampled or shredded, the government's still sacrosanct. >> bill in new mexico, a democrat. good morning. >> caller: good morning to both of you. greta, you need to have an interview with morgan reynolds. he was the top economist under
the bush administration, george bush administration. he's now a professor at a&m in texas university. you and james both need to interview this individual. >> i know morgan. >> caller: yes. and discuss his book. and thank you for your time and effort, james. >> well, thank you, sir. >> tell us about who he's talking about and how do you know him. >> morgan reynolds has done some very good work on government interventions, on government waste. he's very free market oriented. he's very skeptical of the official story on 9/11. i am not so skeptical of that. i think it was basically a vast number of government screw-ups, which the government does well. one of the few things the government does well. but it's frustrating to me to see -- it's understandable to me that a lot of people would think that 9/11 was a conspiracy because the government has changed the story so many times. but that doesn't prove the government did it. and if you look