Skip to main content

tv   Politics and Public Policy Today  CSPAN  May 26, 2016 1:00pm-3:01pm EDT

1:00 pm
truth and justice will prevail. we are involved in a just struggle. we're not involved only on behalf of jews or israelis or only against anti-semitism or hatred. we are on behalf of our common humanity and that is a most profound struggle for justice and against injustice. thank you. california's primary is june 7th. and the presidential candidates are holding rallies throughout the state. at 4:00 eastern, democratic presidential candidate bernie sanders will be in ventura california, and we'll have live coverage. hillary clinton is holding a rally in san hjose, california, c-span will have live coverage
1:01 pm
of that event. tomorrow, c-span will have live coverage of donald trump's rally in san diego. the associated press reports republican presidential candidate donald trump has the number of delegates needed to lockdown the republican nomination. the news organization contacted unbound delegates and enough say they'll support mr. trump to push him over the 1,237 delegates needed to avoid a contested convention in cleveland in july. madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states.
1:02 pm
this memorial day weekend on american history tv on c-span3, saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. eastern on the civil war. >> sherman could not have agreed more. 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 tom gross on union general william tecumseh sherman, arguing his march to the sea campaign was hard war
1:03 pm
rather than total war and his targets were carefully selected. sunday evening at 6:00, take a tour with mitch mcconnell, viewing some of the oldest rooms in the capital like the republican leader suite. conference room, and his private office. >> i had the good fortune to actually be here on august 28th, 1963, when martin luther king made the "i have a dream" speech. i confess i couldn't hear a word because i was at this end of the maul, he was at 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 in the war 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
1:04 pm
room, often at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning, to see if the carrier pilots had returned. >> historian hw brand is joined by tom johnson and former nixon aide alexander butterfield to explore the presidents' foreign policies during the conflict, monday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. eastern on reel america, our five-part series on the 1975 church committee hearings convene to investigate the intelligence activities of the cia, fbi, irs, and nsa. the testimony from cia director, the director's james adams, nsa director lou allen, fbi informants and others. >> we're here to review the major findingsf our full investigation of fbi intelligence, including the coen tell program and other targets aimed at domestic targets. fbi surveillance of law-abiding citizens and groups, political
1:05 pm
abuses of fbi intelligence, and several specific cases of unjustified intelligence operations. for the complete american history tv weekend schedule, go to food security scholars, produce growers and nonprofit leaders testified before the house agriculture committee on efforts to reduce food waste by suppliers and consumers. the committee is looking at proposed legislation called the food recovery act. this is almost two hours. >> good morning. this hearing on the committee of agriculture, food waste from the field to the table come to order. i have asked david scott to open us with a prayer. david. >> dear heavenly father, we come
1:06 pm
before you to first of all give thanks. we thank you for so many blessings you bestow upon us. blessings sometimes we do not even know. we thank you for your holy spirit that intercedes for us on your behalf. we thank you, dear heavenly father, for this hearing. what could be more important than the food that we get on the table for needy people? and in this case, howeveavenly father, as we discuss the issue of food waste, we hope that you will plant within this committee our resolve to do as much as we can to eliminate the food waste, to help our farmers be able to have the labor to get food out of the fields and into the hands and at the tables of those people who need it most.
1:07 pm
dear father, we ask this in your name and the name of your son, jesus christ, amen. >> thank you, david. well, good morning. since i became chairman of the house of agriculture last year, we have held 70 meetings and invited a broad range of people to the committee. the committee doesn't agree every time, but one of the reasons we're able to work in a bipartisan manner is we realize well meaning people can reach the same goal. because we have a different way of getting there doesn't mean one of us is wrong, and this is something we lose sight of today. good public policy is not a zero sum game. if they're closed minded or unopen to compromise, it all but insures retention of the status quo regardless of the issue. the stake holders is the review of food waste. i commend my colleague for
1:08 pm
putting this on the congressional radar. today, sharing may be the first time the agriculture committee is publicly engaged on the issue, but it will not be our last. 40% of the food grown in this country is wasted. that amounds to 133 billion pounds of food wasted. that's a billi iuion with a b, considering we have 45 million people receiving food stamps, assistance through snap, this is a tremendous opportunity to take a closer look at our food chain and figure out a way to insure that food grown in this country reaches the dinner table and not the trash can. speaking two weeks agoat at the food waste summit, secretary vilsack commented avoiding food waste could save families on average $1500 a year and it could prevent hunger and malnourishment in 825 million to 850 million worldwide who are not getting adequate food. this should be a nonpartisan issue that would be most
1:09 pm
successful by engaging everyone in the food chain from the field to the table. it will take the collaboration of all stakeholders to be successful. we will undoubtedly review issues that seem easy to solve and will be complex to solve. and we will have issues that will require collaboration and a public relations campaign to raise awareness. two such issues congress has acted upon is the enacted permanent tax deduction for food donations. the permanent tax deduction for food donations was identified in legislation and enacted as part of the last omnibus. the second issue was addressed years ago by our former colleague and vice chair of the committee, the late bill emerson. many businesses when given the opportunity to donate safe and wholesome food are reluctant because of liability concerns. the bill enacted in 1996 fully addresses this concern. i wish to place into the record a memorandum of opinion drafted
1:10 pm
by the department of justice for usda general council that not only spells out the direct protection but describes the effect on state laws that may not provide the same level of protection. we begin preparing for the hearing -- when we began preparing for the hearing, we reached out the representative who i'm happy is here with us today, will shortly offer her introductory comments of her own. the witnesses represent a broad range of perspectives and expertise, but no way represent the community addressing this challenge. this is one element of our review, we will also invite members of staff and other stakeholders to attend an event later this afternoon in this hearing room on the docket, you can see what some of the organizations are doing to address food waste. that will begin at approximately 1:30 today. i will now recognize our ranking member for any opening remarks he may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. welcome to today's congress. and i appreciate your leadership on the issue.
1:11 pm
welcome to the committee. i'm probably not the only one who finds the term sell by and best by confusing. this confusion leads to a lot of food waste that we see in this country, and i'm glad we're looking at this issue today. american consumers are increasingly less connected to the farm and to where food comes from. and i think a lot of people no longer view food as valuable. when i was growing up, my mom used every part of the animal. that's no longer the case, and food waste has increased. producers have done such a good job of creating an abund ntd food supply that a lot of folks don't think twice about tossing out food that may not look perfect or has surpassed a best by or sell by date stamped on the box, whatever that means. this is a challenge, but i also think it presents a great opportunity for production agrucull hr. while many have no problem
1:12 pm
throwing food away, many americans are still struggling to feed their families. there's a role for farmers and ranchers to play in this, and they can and should step up to the plate and help meet these needs. again, i'm happy that we're beginning to explore this and look forward to a constructive conversation. this is an area we can work across party lines to tackle food waste. i look forward to the testimony and yield back. >> the chair requests other members submit their opening statements for the record so our witnesses may begin their testimony and insure there's ample time for questions. i would like to welcome to our first panel to the witness table, shelly from congresswoman from the great state of maine. you can begin when you're ready. >> well, thank you very much, chairman and to ranking member peterson. i really appreciate that you're holding the hearing today and giving me the opportunity to say a few words about it. i particularly appreciate you remembered to call it the great
1:13 pm
state of maine. so obviously, this is an issue that people have been increasingly concerned about, and i have been very grateful to have a chance to work with it, and as all of you said, work across the aisle and with a whole diverse group of interests that are concerned about the fact that 40% of the food, as you mentioned, is wasted in this country. particularly people on the agriculture committee know how much work goes into growing food, how much water is lost in the process of growing food, how long it has to be transported around the country, and just that gives you a sense of how much we're wasting, besides the food in terms of energy and other resources in doing this. the other big concern is that we do have 50 million people in this country going hungry, and when there's confusion around date labeling or how food can be disposed of or the good samaritan laws, it makes it that much more difficult for restaurants and retail stores to find out how to make sure that uneaten food and beyond the label food gets to the food banks and those people in need.
1:14 pm
so that's part of what we're proposing to look at in the bill that we submitted called the food recovery act. it's wonderful to see that the usda and epa together have announced a food reduction bill. they did that last year, and their goal is to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030. an ambitious goal, but showing there are great opportunities there. i'm fortunate enough to serve on the agriculture appropriations subcommittee so we have been looking at ways to work with them on funding areas that can make a difference in solving this problem and work on some of the same problems with the fda. there's no single way to go about solving this problem and i know as you dig deeper into it today and hear from the wonderful panel you have chosen, you'll start to hear that it's something we have to face on all fronts, from helping consumers to understand differently, giving opportunities to farmers who want to make sure food gets into the right hands, and helping retailers in particular and restaurant owners to reduce
1:15 pm
the waste or make sure it goes places that we want. and in my own state, we have a supermarket chain committed to zero food loss, which means everything gets sold in the store that possibly can, even if some of it looks ugly or misshapen and then making sure it gets to food banks and places where people are in need, and if it can't go to anywhere else, it goes to a composting facility or an aerobic digester. most food waste ends up in municipal landfills. that's one of the increasing costs. it also produces methane gas, which is much more toxic than many gases we already worry about. if it's converted to compost, we're left with wonderful looking soil or we're producing energy with the food waste. making sure there are federal funds available, you want to do that as another part of this and something that i think can certainly be dealt with in a variety of committees. just in closing, i want to
1:16 pm
mention the one thing that ranking member peterson and i were just talking about. i'm sure all of you on the committee and most of us have experienced this problem, perhaps in your own household where you look at a package, it's got a label on it. and think, okay, this is probably still good. we should eat it, yet someone else in your household looks at it and says, look at the date. we have to throw it away. we actually submitted a bill last week with senator blumenthal about date labeling to try to bring some sensibility into this, and because we hear so much about the domestic disagreements that go on, we thought we should call this the domestic harmony bill to reduce some of the issues people face, but basically, manufacturers have joined us. we were endorsed in that bill by a campbell's soup and nestles and a variety of other companies because they find it confusing too. basically, those labels for the most part don't have a uniform or scientific basis. they may represent something to that individual company, but it really doesn't mean you can't
1:17 pm
eat that food. so our idea at the usda and fda to work together to create a label, one that says expires on. for those foods that really do have a safety issue and you should know when it's too late to eat it, and the other would be best if used by. that tells you the bag of crackers would be best if you eat it by that date, but nothing is going to happen if you eat it a month later or maybe the next season when you return to your summer cabin or find it in a box you never unpacked. chances are that's going to be perfectly good food. we would like to bring some sensibility to that. it would be great for manufacturers. it would take some of the stigma out of how some of the food gets donated and there are 20 states around the country that prohibit food donations if the date is passed. we're keeping 20 states away from giving the food to people in need and it's a completely arbitrary date. it seems like that's one that would be extremely cost effective, it would create much less waste, something most of us agree on, and you'll find most of the manufacturers agree on it
1:18 pm
as well. thank you very much for giving me a moment to open this 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 nostalgia to return to the committee which i served on in my early days and truly enjoyed working on with all of you and being in the room. >> thank you, ma'am, for being here, appreciate your comments this morning and for your leadership in getting this initiative started. we'll look forward to pitching in with you on -- i shouldn't say pitching in, but nevertheless, helping with reduction of food waste. >> be careful about the baseball stuff. >> i got you. we are going to transition to the second panel. i thank you for being with us today. i would like to welcome the second panel of witnesses to the table. we have ms. dana gunders. national resources defense counsel, san francisco, california. we have mr. jesse fink, a director of mission point in norwalk, connecticut. we have john oxford, president,
1:19 pm
ceo, l & m companies, raleigh, north carolina. ms. megan stance. grocery manufacturers association here in washington, d.c. mr. diana abbey, ceo, feeding america, chicago, illinois. and ms. emily broadleave, director food law policy clinic, harvard law school, jamaica plain, massachusetts. everybody has their seats. all right. if you'll begin when you're ready, ma'am. >> ranking member peterson and members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to testify today, and being willing to explore this issue. my name is dana gunders. i'm a senior scientific at the natural resources defense counsel and also the author of a
1:20 pm
report on food waste and a book called the waste free kitchen handbook which is a consumer guide to wasting less food. so imagine walking out of the grocery store with five bags of groceries, dropping two in the parking lot, and not bothering to pick them up. seems crazy, but that's essentially what we're doing today across the country where we're wasting 40% of all of our food. we're leaving entire fields unharvests and eliminated produce solely for its looks. we're serving massive portions, throwing out food just because it's past the sell by date and eating out instead of what's in our fridge. 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's enough food to fill a tractor trailer every 20 seconds. and then it drives all over the country, except instead of going to people to eat it, it goes
1:21 pm
straight to the landfill. that's essentially what we're doing today. in fact, food is the number one product entering our landfills today. this is expensive. all told, 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's three times the caloric requirements of the entire food insecure 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 gives me hope that we could get there again. wasting less food is to the food sector as energy efficiency is to the energy seconder.
1:22 pm
the cheapest, ease yiest way to meet growing demands. the u.s. predicts food demand will lead to a 60% growth in food demand, and a quarter could be offset by addressing food waste. there are far too many causes to address in a few short minutes, but i think it's important to note that wasting food happens to the best of us, as individuals and businesses. we have all had to toss moldy strawberries or clean out the science experiment in the back of our fridge. the good 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 amazed at the energy and enthusiasm people have when they come up and tell me that they found a way to use their wrinkled tomatoes in a sauce or something like that. and because there's direct savings to be had, this enthusiasm has extended to the
1:23 pm
business and entrepreneurial community as well. even modest savings can max a difference. i was asked to give an overview of the problem, but in my last minute, i would like to suggest add least a few solutions. i would also like to note that the epa has prioritized prevent solutions and food donations over things like animal feed and composting. for solutions, 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 council to address this called save the food. with the goal of providing consumers 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 have already heard, because they misinterpret lab labels, consumers are tossing
1:24 pm
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 while incubating model solutions that others could follow. fourth, address data needs. right now, there are some very basic questions we can't answer, and lastly, support the food recovery act introduced by representative pingree. it tackled food waste from a variety of issues and discusses many issues i suggested in my written testimony. wasting less food is something everyone can get behind and in some cases there's even money to be saved. i expect should you pursue solutions, you'll find there's a broad range of support behind you. >> mr. fink, five minutes. >> thank you, chairman conwei, ranking member peterson and others for the opportunity to
1:25 pm
testify today. i'm here as a representative of the multistakeholder food waste initiative. i would like to dedicate my testimony to my wife, a farmer like many members of congress who have committed their lives to growing food. i also would like to dedicate the testimony to the 50 million americans who struggle with hunger. in a resource endowed country like ours we should be able to conquer hunger, conserve fresh water and create new jobs through the new food waste innovation. my journey to become a food waste evangelist has been long and shaped by my career as an entrepreneur, farmer, investor, and philanthropist. i helped co-found, powered by the internet, linking perishable airline seats with consumers looking for cheaper tickets. for the past decade, betsy and i have learned first-hand how challenging and rewarding it is to be a farmer. similar to priceline, we see valuable perishable products going to waste. two years ago, we asked a team at mission point partners to
1:26 pm
develop a strategy to address the food waste issue systematically, focusing on the most cost effective and scalable 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 dwight culting and rrs. we built an advisory council of 30 organizations. this includes farmers, manufacturings, waste hallers, nonprofits, many who are here today. it can address three of our nation's largest problems. first is foremost is hunger. our research found that solutions could nearly 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 can create $100 billion of
1:27 pm
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 this economic development will go towards food recovery, composting, and anaerobic composting. lastly, the environment. common sense food waste solutions will conserve up to 1.5% of our country's fresh water. and this is lost on farms. in addition, reducing food waste will decrease methane emissions from landfills and increase the health of our soil through composting. four cost cutting actions are needed to 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.
1:28 pm
second, innovation. refed has an innovation database of over 200 companies. incubators, accelerators and large companies are supporting entrepreneurs. there's also an opportunity for government mechanisms to support their ingenuity. right here in washington, d.c., companies like misfit juicery, fruit cycle and hungry harvest are examples of start-ups that use produce that would typically go to waste. next is financing. we need a full spectrum of capital, including grants, 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 produce a 20% reduction in food waste nationwide. there are opportunities to explore public/private partnerships, investing with energy infor structure and composting facilities and government funding for research facilities. lastly is policy.
1:29 pm
food waste is a complex issue, but three federal policy issues stand out as achievable today. first, make it easier for food businesses to donate food for the hungry. second, standardize date labeling through legislation or voluntary industry action. and finally, strengthen incentives and procurement for food waste solutions at the local level such as tax incentives for composting and anaerobic digestion. there's a huge momentum and growing awareness around food waste. the time is now for our country to embrace the solvable problem and by working together turn it into an opportunity. we can take steps to alleviate hunger, boost our economy, and preserve our great natural resources. i thank you for the opportunity to testify and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you, mr. fink. mr. poxferroxford, five minutes. >> members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify in today's hearing on food waste. i'm president and ceo of l & m
1:30 pm
companies based in raleigh, north carolina. founded in 1964, we're a family agriculture business that grows, markets, and distributes fresh produce. our products and our crops include a variety of vegetables, potatoes, onions, melons, apples, pears, and more. in addition to my day job, i'm chairman elect for the produce marketing association, which is the largest trade association representing companies that market fresh fruits and vegetables. pma represented more than 2700 member companies in 45 countries. in the united states, our members from growing, processing, manufacturing, distribution, wholesalings, retail, and food service handle more than 90% of fresh produce sold to consumers. my testimony today comes from inperspective 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 as well as the inputs, labor, energy, water,
1:31 pm
and fertilizer. if the product has been harvested, cooled, and transported, we lose even more. thus, the insendive for producers to innovate is significant. our first preference and goal is that fresh produce reaches its highest and best use -- feeding people. alt l & m, we inploy a range of uses for produce. we use several outlets for usable product that is not go to be sold. we try to find alternative markets for uses and in addition, l & m supplies hundreds of thousands of pounds of helpful fresh produce every year to charitablies including farmers feeding florida, feeding america, operation blessing and a host 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
1:32 pm
food waste in your refrigerator at home. we provided some at your desks this morning. baby carrots were born from a concern over food waste. misshapen carrots were cut and shaped into the now common baby carrots. today, baby carrots represent 70% of all carrot sales, and according to our recent "washington post" article, this effort to reduce waste is actually now doubled carrot consumption. recently, cisco's produce dwinter freshpoint introduced its unusual but usable program. their freshpoint is a food service distributor, it partners with produce growers taking ugly or imperfect produce that might otherwise go to waste and find consumers interested in utilizing it. this reduces the waste caused by cosmetic imperfections. red jacket orchards in new york,
1:33 pm
like many apple and pear processors take the residual solids left after producing and makes them into cakes to feed livesto livestock. this considerably reduces what goes to the landfill and a supply chain outlook for the grower. we have also supplied some samples of these cakes at your seats today. in another example, gill's onions, a california-based producer and processor installed an advanced energy roofecovery system that converts 100% of its daily onion residuals into renewable energy and cattle feed. instead of incurring the disposal costs for its onion waste, gill's onions saves approximately $700,000 per year on energy and disposal coss and has significantly reduced its environmental output. a final area is the importance of a strong industry and government partnership to food
1:34 pm
waste. new developments for model breeding practices can bring us traits that enhance a crop's ability. likewise, increasing fruit and vegetable shelf life will reduce waste. we also need the federal government as a partner in the area of research. usda's research programs have done great things for our industry and specialty crops in yerl. and last but not least, we need help on labor issues. many growers across the u.s. find difficulty finding farm workers and produce is too often left to rot in the field. i recognize this is a difficult issue to tackle politically, but we need congress to take action. significantly reducing our nation's food waste is a challenging endeavor. l & m and the produce marketing association stand ready to partner with you and my fellow wiblszs here today to move closer to a zero waste system. thank you again for holding this important hearing and this committee's attention to these
1:35 pm
critical issues. >> thank you. did i butcher your name badly? >> it's stase. >> you're recognized for five minutes. >> chairman conaway, ranking member peterson and members of the committee, thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate this morning on this important issue. my name is megan. i'm a senior director of sustainability for the grocery manufacturers association representing the food, beverage, and consumer products industry. today, i'm speaking on behalf of the food waste redirection alliance, an initiative of 30 leading companies formed in 2011 by gma, the food marketing institute and the national restaurant association. we commend you for holding this hearing. i'll make four key points today. first, we know that food waste is a very real problem 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
1:36 pm
considerable progress. we bring together manufacturers, retailers, and food service companies around three goals. reduce food waste generated, increase food donated, and recycle unavoidable food waste. gma's members have been working hard to minimize waste as well. in 2014, our companies 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 is fm rirx taking the lead on date labelling and reducing consumer confusion. date labeling is important and we're addressing it. the context is important, and that's my fourth point. date labelling is not the solution to food waste. there is no silver bullet solution. it these to be tackled in many ways. consumers, as we know, are responsible for 44% of the food waste in landfills. if we're going to make serious dent, we need to help consumers.
1:37 pm
but reducing food waste is a priority. that's why we created fwra, cochaired by conagra, we have four areas of focus. assessment, best practices, communications, and policy. from this work, we have seen really tremendous innovations. conagra, who makes marie calendar's pot pies found they can replace the way they're making pie dough in the pan and reduce the amount trimmed off the edge. this saved them over 230 tons of pie dough in a year. that's food waste that never happened. retailers increase food donations by over a billion pounds in the last decade. kroger is piloting a program to turn their waste into energy, restaurants are working to reduce waste. young brands donated over 184 million pounds of food since 1992. let me talk a little bit about date labeling. in january, gma and fmi's boards worked to address consumer confusion around date labeling and a irking group of 25
1:38 pm
companies met here last week. a national standard is crucial to providing consumers with the clarity they need. 40 states have laws regulating labeling. this on some products in some parts of the country is contributing to confusion, but more will need to be done beyond date labeling. date labels can tackle only about 8% of the total overall food waste that's 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, for example. food safety is paramount, so if a local food bank has maxed out its refrigerated space, often, food winds up in the landfill. similarly, diverting food waste away from landfills requires infrastructure that makes sense. it's heavy and wet and requires frequent pickup. you have to put that on a diesel truck and drive it hundreds of miles to had 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
1:39 pm
facilities can face permitting challenges. so even when a company thinks they have found a solution, the composting facility can be shut down, the a.d. can 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, yet permitting is onerous and there's no infrastructure. finally, consumers. they're the single largest kwibter of food waste to landfill, and our save the food campaign is a great example of what we'll need to see the move the needle here. in closing, while challenges exist, the opportunity is enormous and we really look forward to working with the committee, our industry partners and others to reduce food waste all throughout the supply chain. thank you for your time. >> thank you. five minutes. >> mr. chairman, ranking member peterson, 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
1:40 pm
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, which is about 2.6 billion pounds, would otherwise go to landfill. and yet, this still does not mead the need. significant gaps remain between the food low income people need and the resources they have to buy it. donating excess food provides benefits, it reduces hunger, protect the environment, and provided businesses with sustainable, but perishable food
1:41 pm
must move safely and quickly from the done toor the people who need it. doing so requires innovative practices, technological know how, and costly infrastructure like refrigerators 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 donations. produce matchmaker is an online portal and ordering system that helps produce donors connect with food banks. it's available 24 hours a day, and it's allowed food banks to review offers and accept donations in real time, moving produce to hungry families more quickly. food banks can order produce donations by the pallet rather than the truck load. 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 connected 125 million
1:42 pm
pounds of produce with food banks across 40 states. it will help us recover and distribute significant amounts of produce that is currently wasted. we have a new online platform to facilitate the easy, safe, and fast donation of fresh food from grocery and convenience stores and food service locations. donors engage online when they have extra products to donate. and our match to the local food bank. it's the only donation matching software that full y vet both donors and recipients to insure that proper food safety protocols are followed throughout the process. using this on a smartphone or pc simplifies the logistics of matching excess food with a nearby pantry that can accept it. this is local food rescue in the sharing economy. milk connect is partners with
1:43 pm
starbucks to provide an additional 50 million meals over the next five years as the program rolls out to 7600 starbucks stores across the u.s. by produce matchmaker and that won't solve the problem alone. additional investment in technology and physical infrastructure are needed. the improvements to a hard tax donations to donated food enacted last december will also have a significant impact on food recovery. by expanding the deduction to incluse farmers and growers and making it permanent 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 this, we would be worse off. to continue increasing food recovery, additional investments to identify and scale promising
1:44 pm
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 you our witnesses for testimonying. i want to remind members -- ooh. i'm sorry, ms. lee. i'm sorry, ma'am. >> that's okay. did my time pass so fast? >> my apologies. i'm so sorry. five minutes. >> thank you, chairman and ranking member peterson and the members of the committee for the opportunity to speak with you. my name is emily and i direct
1:45 pm
the harvard law school food policy clinic. through our work with various clients and partners, we have come to see the challenges to food waste reduction and food recovery. i want to highlight a few issues. as you have heard from many of my colleagues, confusion over date labels is a major cause of food waste. they found standardizing date labels is the most cost effective of 27 of the different solutions, and could divert 398 tons of food waste. we have identified two challenges. first, in the dating game, which we published in 2013 with the nrdc, we showed there's a dizzying array of state laws created to fill the void in federal regulation on this issue. 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
1:46 pm
all perishable and semiperishable products and restricts sale or donation after the date. and we found consumers are confused. on most foods, date labels are not intended to communicate safety. they signal a manufacturer's estimate of how long the food would be at its best taste, but consumers toss food because of safety fears. in a national survey my clinic conducted this april with the national consumers league and johns hopkins center for livable future, we found over a third of consumers always throw food away after the date and 84% do so at least occasionally. interestingly, a third of consumers also believe the federal government regulates date labels. through our work on date labels, we have also learned that safety is a risk for certain food products such as deli meats or unpasteurized dairy after the date. that also isn't communicated to consumers. moving forward, we could align with what most other countries do and as representative pingree
1:47 pm
discusses, requiring a label on foods where freshness is concerned and a standard safety label on foods that carry a safety risk after the date. we have been excited to see support for standard date labels by companies like walmart, and nestle. they could help consumers make better decisions, they could facilitate donation of safe past date food and be a win for companies. moving on, i would like to talk about food donations. several of my colleagues and the chairman mentioned the fear of exposure to liability which hampers food donation. but strong liability protections already exist. in 1996, congress passed the bill emerson good samaritan act which provides a very strong federal floor of civil and criminal liability protect to food donors and the nonprofit organizations that dwint food to needy individuals. these organizations are predicted as long as they don't act with intentional misconduct or negligence, but 67% of manufacturers and 54% of retailers still say that the main reason they don't donate is
1:48 pm
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 regulation. in our system, regulations of grocery stores and restaurants takes place at the state level. state house codes vary, but they're mostly based on the fda food code. however, the food code does not incorporate language around food donation, so states lack federal guidance around safe food donation, including food donations in the food code could help states clarify their safety laws and better clarify food
1:49 pm
donation. and i want to mention innovation. organizations have teszed different approaches to food recovery. several of our client organizations are testing technologies that connect donors and food recovery organizations that convert nonconforming fruits and vegetableinize to new products or apply models at a low cost. these innovations could not be predicted when the laws were first passed, so several exiting laws pose barriers to the viability of some of these innovations. this committee could address barriers like this and create a friendlier climate for innovation. in conclusion, despite strong laws, barriers exist, such as starndizing date labels and supporting innovation could reduce the amount of food waste and increase the amount of healthy safe food recovered. thank you. >> thank you, and good recovery from my rudeness.
1:50 pm
members will be recognized in order of seniority, and i appreciate everyone's sitting here listening to you, i realize that i was among early adopters of this issue. not wasting food in a sense thatsa a young mp at ft. hood, we would race across with sirens blaring and red flights flashing to get to mcdonald's at 2:00 in the morning to get the unsold big macs that we would take back to headquarters and pass them around to colleagues. in addition growing up in a family where nothing was wasted. will you talk to us about the struggles or the challenges and differences between rural food banks and urban food banks in the sense of produce and how they get access to it?
1:51 pm
we heard the retailers here talking about small retailers having a hard time getting produce. can you talk to us about how foot banks in urban and rural are approaching those challenges? >> the challenges are different than those in urban food banks. just transportation is one of the biggest challenges. i'm new to feeding america to go around to have listening sessions. in the sessions that brought together most of the rural foot banks, the number one challenge was transportation. aed if for us to have replacement of tires because they have to get to far distances. it's not only the distribution of food, but with regard to the people who are facing hunger. their ability to get together and receive the food is also a
1:52 pm
challenge. i don't think it's a challenge that we solved. because most of the people facing hunger or more of them are in cities and concentrated areas, they may be an inclination to want to go to where the people are. yet the needs are just as important. had 40 different state rules and labeling. you and your team be supportive of a federal preemption of the state rules and regulations? >> yes, i think a national standard is crucial. emily did a good job of the complexity that is existing now and i think that as we think about if there is going to be
1:53 pm
regulation then federal preemption would be critical and reducing consumer confusion. we thank mrs. pin gree for starting the conversation. >> i do believe the statute of limitations has run to anything i might have confessed to. with that i yield back for five minutes. >> do all of you agree that to get our goal we need a federal preemption of state laws? any of you disagree with that? silence. that's going to be hard for the stenographers to write that down. >> we discussed when we started looking at state laws, we looked at a handful in new england and
1:54 pm
they were different and the more we zoomed out across the country, they are not based on a standard safety information. it makes sense to have one standard that everyone can follow. >> you would need a federal preemption. >> i think so. >> i'm a little bit concerned about how this would work because we have so many people involved in using the labeling and marketing of foot. consumers don't know what the heck is going on. it just concerns me like this gmo issue and they are opposing preemption of that because people think it's a good thing for the states to have these different laws that goes the opposite of what you are talking about here and people are trying to do the dietary quite lines
1:55 pm
and a bill that is being introduced that puts the food police in charge of the ag committee, i guess. they are pushing all kinds of ideology there, whatever it might be. confusing the heck out of people. people label things natural and using it to create stores and so forth. i'm concern that if we pass this bill that says you are going to have two dates. one is best by and the other is expires. this is a good thing to do and if we can accomplish it, it would be the best solution and one of the main things that could change things. but in the bill it says expires on is the date for not the
1:56 pm
quality, but the safety. i think -- i don't think consumers would understand what that means. you almost have to say do not consume after this date. to get them to understand. we are putting so much stuff on this label that all of these labels that i'm not sure it's going to breakthrough. i don't know what you all think about that. do you think -- am i off base concerned about all this? >> sir, i have two answers and i will leave time. one in terms of the question about the information being out there, if you go to any store even in the states that don't regulate date labels like new york, almost every product has a date label on it. everything from bottled water to vinegar to canned goods and
1:57 pm
whatever. what's great about this is not taking information away and consumers are used to seeing those and making it clear so they don't see a million different ones. you are right that no matter what they are, education is needed. right now because there so many different labels, it's impossible to educate them about what they have tried. here's what you should glean from these and lastly the term expires on was in the national survey we did last month. we checked six different label language and expires on, 54% of people believe that was a safety label that was higher than any other and the lowest percentage of people that thought it was a quality indicator. 54% is not a lot, but it's a start and i think with education it could be built upon that. >> go ahead. >> i do think you hit the nail on the head in that we want to get this right the first time. we don't want to contribute to
1:58 pm
confusion and we want to test consumers to make sure they understand what we are trying to convey and coordinate with other changes like the nutritions facts panel and really have industry flexibility to trunkate the phrase and make sure it fits on small packaging to make sure we are harmonizing and conveying the right information to the consumer. >> amen to that and if you read this bill, i am concerned and i agree with the goal, but i'm concerned about the way this thing is structured that you are going to get these different agencies involved and by the time you are done, you won't recognize what you tried to accomplish. i have seen that with the farm bill and i passed that by the time we got done with regulation. i didn't recognize what we passed. we have to be careful. i agree with what we are trying
1:59 pm
to accomplish, but getting too many agencies involved and allow too much whatever, you will end up with a worse situation. i yield back. >> mr. kelly, five minutes. >> thank you mr. chairman and members of the pable. we have a lot of food pantries. i'm from mississippi and we have rural areas and they do a great job and so any reduction. i rarely do this and she will probably kill me, but my wife volunteers for meals on wheels for the elderly and people who can't travel. she never gets recognized. my wife does a great job and we need more of that. there is a lot people who want to help get the food in the right hands. as a child growing up, my mother
2:00 pm
went to the steal bread store in town and buy up the donuts and things that we wouldn't afford or bread and buns and freeze them and we would eat them all year. we didn't know any different. it was still good food. the things that most people threw away, we got to eat. to what extent is the industry informed in labeling? >> we are very engaged. this is a bort level initiative and they are working on this to make sure that we get this right the first time and make sure the information is accurate and the right kind of information. this is a really important issue for us and something we are taking very seriously. >> as a follow-up on that, we don't always get the right
2:01 pm
results. we don't have the base line of knowledge that is necessary. we have a broad range of things. it prevents us from doing the wrong thing. we sure appreciate your input. how did your manufacturers work on and what limitations does it put on you? >> it's onerous and they are complying with state lu and it creates a lot of unintended consequences. they highlighted the confusion and different foods get thrown away unnecessarily. there is a call for and a reason for a national standard to prevent those laws.
2:02 pm
par are to what extent have they raised concerns to withhold donations? >> i think the issue we see is lack of knowledge. people want to help and contribute and argue they can't because they won't be protected and it's a one by one by one education. unless we create a systematic way. i was most recently at a conference organized by ohio state university with all of the alumni and they are talking about food and security and people sitting at the front table said they were reluct act to get involved because they thought they were liabilities and people leaning into the area. i don't think we should under estimate the degree to which people think they are not protected. >> and final question for
2:03 pm
mr. oxford. so-called ugly fruit and vegetables. they have less value in the so-called market place. what other opportunities, you talked about some, but if you can talk about what opportunities they are exploring to add value to these products. >> the ugly fruit has been a growing thing across the industry and a lot of retailers are mentioning the food service getting involved as well. and one of the things you have to keep in mind is how things are positioned in the stores or at the foot service level. there is 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. trying to do anything we can to make the products available is what we are trying to do.
2:04 pm
>> my dad growing up would not 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 ever had. that makes it better. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this is a very serious problem here. we appreciate you, chairman pulling this together. it seems to be two fundamental areas we need to address. the first is how do you change human behavior? the second is how do we address this issue of where the foot waste starts on the farm. i represent georgia and we are
2:05 pm
the leaders of growing blue berries. so much of the blue berries are left wasted rotting in the fields because we have failed to address the yb know one issue that we here in congress can do to address food shortage. that's to make sure our agriculture and farmers, those who are producing our crops like blue berries have the labor to be able to harvest them. we have got to do something about that first. second point on that is how did we coordinate a better relationship with that if it's an oversupply. our farmers lds gladly at a issue-reduced cost get them to
2:06 pm
our foot banks. like the atlanta food bank which is a more premier food bank with 75 million pounds of food put out each year. that takes good management allocation. now the other is on how do you get to the real? about 80% of the problem if we solve it at the first end of helping to stop the shortage of food rotting because we can't get the labor and we fail to address immigration from an economic agriculture and supply labor standpoint, when we get to the changing of the human behavior, we have to get into a coordinated partnership with the media. with sufficient and radio to change human behavior and educate the public. we did this with smoking.
2:07 pm
it can be done. we change that. people you are not going to be able to get people. there was a coordinated effort to help with the kinds of public announcements, commercials that we could. i would like to get y'all's response. am i right on this labor issue? >> without a doubt. that's one of the biggest challenges for us is not having adequate labor to harvest at times. when we leave crops in the field, sure, we can use them as nutrients, but it's not going to the best use which is feeding people. >> how about your ability? am i right in subpoenaing that
2:08 pm
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 to the needy people rather than rotting in the fields? >> absolutely. we already do as i mentioned in my testimony, supply hundreds of thousands of pounds to food banks and it doesn't mead specifications for the customers we have and so forth. i think distribution is a big part of the e wagz and there is no silver bullets here. it has to be a collaborative effort. i looked at this and clearly 45% i think we can coordinate
2:09 pm
resources at the federal level to help get public service announcements. to get and engage them. much as the same way we did with changing the human behavior with smoking. i yield back. >> chris gibson, five minutes. >> thanks, mr. chairman. i appreciate the hearing. i want to come in and concur with his statements and i appreciate the chairman. he has 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 introduced a bill and i don't claim that it corners the market here. i think maybe what we should do is have a hearing and look into it more. i know the committee is looking at that.
2:10 pm
the second is and i apologize i was a few minutes late, but i did learn from the testimony. i was interested to hear your skmend yo comment and analysis and it's helpful in intent, but perhaps needing refinement. amendments. i thought you were very clear in what could be done. i certainly would be supportive of an effort on that score. and third, i'm curious for the panel in your experiences, have you seen best practices as far as information is concern and a not for profit that maybe is a clearing house in a community where all restaurants and
2:11 pm
farmers can provide information about what they have. they are in a community, there is a place where people can go and say here is the inventory of all that is perishable and nonperishables that is available. has anyone seen anything like that? >> yes. there are in addition what feeding america is doing with their new platform, there a few other local start ups that are doing it. they are based in boston and creating a platform that has knowledge of tractor-trailers being rejected and not going to find their intent and matching those with locations that can use that. there is a lot of innovation happening at a local level as
2:12 pm
well. >> there lots of efforts to try and get to the very issue you raised. the challenge is to make sure this whole food labeling you want to be sure that the food gets picked up and it's transported to a safe place and 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 make sure we have a safe protected standard. if we have somebody getting food poisoning as a result, that might be perceived as the tip of the iceberg when it was isolated. we have to proceed here. our effort with starbucks that
2:13 pm
we are now going to do-over the next five years. and hundreds and hundreds of stores will give us an opportunity to test this effort because it's a small amount of food and they are incentivizing us through providing us with enough financial support to purchase refrigerated trucks so they can go by and pick the food up every 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 carrying it safely to the place where they can be distributed to people who need food. it's not a lack of will issue. >> there is quite a bit of
2:14 pm
innovation on that front. they have been training uber and lift and allowing restaurants to go to food pantries until someone accepts it and they bring it over quickly to get to people quickly. i would say that there is a long tail to the food waste thing. big organizations and sometimes they have large quantities, but also a lot of small restaurants and such that have small quantities, but it's worthwhile to donate. really encouraging the innovation there that conserve that long tail. >> i thank the panelists and my time is expired. >> thank you, chairman and thank all of you. critically important topic. thank you to miss pin gree who i had the honor and pleasure of
2:15 pm
sharing a meal at her home. she take this is to heart and takes food as an important part of cultural life. this issue of by training a cultural jeing on rafr. it's interesting when you hear people up here talk, those of us of a certain generation, there is a pride in the thriftiness around food. until i was 12 years old, i thought head cheese was really cheese. when we found out, we still it, but it was probably passed on where food insecurity was a real threat to them. i do think getting at that because there is interesting phenomenas on them. we take pride in minnesota where we fuel the world and have the
2:16 pm
most efficient producers of food. you have so efficient at thriving foots from all over the world to the local grocery store and homes, it changed that perception. i look at it when i go to shop for bananas. i don't want them green, but when i buy them yellow, they are bad the next day. it's that supply chain. i'm curious and mr. scott was talking about public awareness and all of that. i think you did this right. if anything i learned from this job as a school teacher, mazz low's hierarchy. appeal to the bottom and how it impacts their safety and their pocket book and they will self
2:17 pm
actualize that it saves the planet and those types of things. are we making a difference to people at the bottom. maybe throw it out to each of you for your points on this. you talked about the data which i think is incredible what you have been able to do to gather data. maybe the last for you, how does u srks ar usa and they do really incredible field to there is win, win, wins in this. this is incredibly positive health-wise and reducing government spending. i will leave my last two minutes and we have to get at this. >> as i mentioned, they
2:18 pm
partnered on a campaign around food waste. it's correct if i walk down the sidewalk and throw half a sandwich 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 think much of it. there was over 12 months of research that went into the campaign and found things like people don't know they are wasting food. if you ask them if it's okay, they will say yes and it's flying under the radar. it's a by product of people's good intentions. you want to host a good dinner party and there is a by product of waste. it is trying to create a wake up call that this is happening and create a positive message that
2:19 pm
people are trying to shift. i think we are trying to get at the motivations behind it through positive messaging and empowering people to make changes in their kitchens. a lot is happening right there. i think your question had to do with the data. the intent was to toem the data out there with all the different industries to understand the data and create a road map that is anna action plan of what the areas are where food is being waste and what are the solutions and how can investment be made to accomplish that.
2:20 pm
there opportunities for philanthropic foundations that can make grants to feeting america and other nonprofits. for corporations to make investments. the first was collecting the data and creating the road map. now it's for individual organizations to figure out how they can invest in the soluti s solutions. >> i want to explore that potential and how you are doing that. >> the gentlemen's time expired. five minutes. >> just this number is staggering. i wonder if most people wouldn't be aware of that. if there was one take away that you wanted me to be able to communicate back in my district from each as you have been
2:21 pm
thinking about this today and throughout your work, what would that take away be that you want me to communicate? i think that number is pretty staggering and when you look at the supply chain aspect, it becomes a much more complicated issue in terms of how to resolve. is there one thing you want me to communicate in my district? go right down the panel. >> this is very addressable and it takes easy steps to do it. it can be overwhelming when you think too much about it. if everyone cares about this and we think foot shouldn't be wasted, it won't be as much. >> i would say that most people are not aware of how much food they waste personally and this problem can be solved starting so much by the consumer and they
2:22 pm
can push that to restaurants and retailers. >> i think there is a misperception that if the fruit or vegetable doesn't look perfect, it can't be good. that's simply not true. support for and encouragement with the imperfect or the unusual looking and the helpful products for consumers. that would be terrific. >> the importance is the measurement and the household and the city and state. understanding getting numbers behind how much food waste you are wasting, you immediately find opportunities to improve. i have to stop buying grapefruits. i just don't eat them.
2:23 pm
measurement is far and away the best practice. >> there no silver bullets. just because we can't solve all of it, doesn't mean we can't solve some of it. one of the great successes of this donation that make the food by small businesses and possible incentivizing them to give. instead of that food going to waste, because of this tax deduction, they can donate that. if we can educate the farmers and the people in the communities about this opportunity, we can serve a heck of a lot. that will be the first step. >> on date labels for the most part that foods are intricating
2:24 pm
quality. you can make them clear. the emerson act is incredible. it's an enormous amount of protection and the businesses don't know about that and having representatives say to them. they are protected and this is a priority for us. that can go miles in getting people to feel comfortable donating food. >> thank you very much. appreciate it. i yield back. >> five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman and thank you all for being here. mr. chairman, let me take a point of personal privilege. today is foster youth shadow day. today i have a foster student with me. her name is jordan wells in the system for five years. now a student at cleveland state university. >> stand up and wave at us. there she is.
2:25 pm
welcome. glad you are with us. >> now to the questions. let me thank you all. this has been most enlightening. thank you for this hearing. i do represent the city of cleveland and akron and 20 cities in between. i represent one of the poorest districts in america. this is important to me. on a fairly regular basis and have my staff go on the basis and assist. i wanted to remind you that mr. rodney davis, my colleague and i did in fact request that the appropriations committee provide an additional $100 million for the cost of storing, transporting and distributing food. we know that refrigerated storage and moving food is very, very important to making this
2:26 pm
whole thing work. if it's difficult to donate the food, they don't do it. thank you for your assistance and feeding and helping us do that. i'm happy that my colleagues have heard how important it is to make sure that we have the transportation that we need. we have been talking about the emerson act for sometime this morning. unlike other statutes, there is 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? would that make person who is come under this act feel better? >> i think so. one issue is really that there is a lack of awareness that can be addressed by having an agency that is tasked with putting guidance out and sharing
2:27 pm
information. the other question, it's intended to be strong if you read it. you can get that. as attorneys, i can imagine if i were advocating on behalf of the company, saying there a few terms that are unclaear and wholesome food. there other questions like that as well. the access that food has to follow natural, state and labeling standards. they are not related to safety. even having them be able to say the allergens are safety-related. that is important when it's donated. when it's three ounces or four ounces, that's not an issue. there is a bunch of places like that where having an agency raise awareness would go a long way. >> i have heard on two occasions
2:28 pm
that there is a role for the federal government. i'm happy to hear that and my colleagues would agree that we don't want to have 40 or 50 different states with all different rules. with the emerson act, there should be some interpretive guidance and i thank you for that and hopefully we can take care of some of those things. you talked about this and are you talking about immigration? >> immigration is a part of the discourse and i know that's a tough politically and that's a big part of it. it affects them getting to the market place and simplistically you can import labor or the fruits and vegetables.
2:29 pm
that's a big part of it. >> thank you very much. i yield back. >> five minutes. >> thank you. i appreciate you being here and today as you brought out, we have one with us from the great state of florida. if you raise your hand. congratulations for being here and sharing with us. i wanted to hit on the emerson act. you talked extensively about it and to make it further to incentivize the tax things and the clarification in laws. if the work you have done with that, if there recommendations that you have done on this committee that we can help draft that, that would surely facilitate that.
2:30 pm
the incentives and the things that she brought up, the incentives to donate those things. we see it so often. i grew up in minnesota. i have five brothers and four were older. all six of us were like puppies at the dish. there was no food waste when we were growing up. i was on food stamps for a period of time and we were good misers with that. my mom taught us how to save all your food and at the end of the week you had stew. that was really good. we have seen a lot of waste. i worked at markets and loading docks and working with the farmers. we have seen the crops left in the fields.
2:31 pm
anything as far as legislation would be great and i had a specific question here for mr. fink. you mentioned consumer education as cross cutting action to reducing waste. have you had the best practices in educating consumers and what have you found as ways to educate the consumer and not just the consumer and i wanted to add awareness and industry. industry does a good job from the farmers to the families. have you any cooperation with usda and public service announcements? yes, sir? the first question, we are getting a great start with the ad council and nr d.c. and ad campaigns that have changed and i believe this will do that. it's a start.
2:32 pm
it needs to be backed up by companies providing awareness and restaurants. chefs are circling the hill who are interested in food waste. chefs can play a in that. it starts with the ad council, but companies can play a and the government can. i would on the industry side, we have a farm and we collect left over produce. every day there is a new person and they are not doing it the same way. employee training is huge. that's one of the things that came out that was not just the consumer training, but employee training. >> thank you. you brought up like the grapefruit, you buy stuff. i have done that myself. we buy things we shouldn't. that's up to us and a cost benefit analysis that we have to
2:33 pm
make. mr. oxford, the bruised tomato nobody wants to buy, but in the restaurant business, you can utilize that and it's like buying a new car. i don't want the one with the dent in it. if the retail market or the restaurants moved to wednesdays, that's the left overs and those are not the things that are the shiniest. you have seen a difference in the handling of food waste in the rural versus the urban areas in the grocery stores or restaurants? >> i will say there market differences, but overall the general line is a real struggle. depending on where you are, the options will be different. if you are a restaurant and you have small amounts of pick up, you will have to get someone to pick up that material really, really frequently and it has to go a long way away to go to a
2:34 pm
composting facility and you could lose your environmental benefit. for all businesses, meeting the 50% reduction goal will be critical. >> thank you. i yield back. thank you all for being here. it's all common sense and all doable. it doesn't seem like rocket science to implement a food waste problem. we should put you all in a room and you write it and tell us to fund it and we are done. you represent the vast array of the players that need to be at the table. a few weeks ago i was invited by the film they were showing called just eat it. it was about a couple that decided to live for months on food waste. they thought they couldn't do it
2:35 pm
and couldn't find good food waste to live on. by the end of the film, they gained 20 pounds because it was so plentiful and they ate relatively healthy, but they a lot because they uncovered so much discarded food. they went to dumpsters in super markets and uncovered huge amounts of discarded food. they went to try to buy food like bananas that were being taken off the shelf and told by the team they couldn't sell it to them. they discarded them and they went to the dumpster and they got it. they had a banquet for their friends. the bottom line is we waste an enormous amount of good nutritious healthy food that not only can feed hungry people, but can be utilized in the schools and other places. we need to fix this problem. there is an environmental aspect
2:36 pm
to this too. moving away from landfills and going into composting and feeding animals versus land filts. we have close to 50 million people who are hungry and we should be ashamed of that. this is not a substitute for wic or other nutrition programs. clearly getting food to people who are struggling is important. on that panel, he brings his excess produce to the food bank of western massachusetts. he didn't get incentives. it's hard. he is a small farm. a lot of people are faced with this. they don't have the labor force or the refrigerated trucks to do the transporting of the food and
2:37 pm
then even at food banks, there is a limited amount of refrigeration. you can talk about trying to get it to smaller stores or whatever, they have a limited amount of refrigeration. we authorize $100 million for transportation and storage. we never funded it. it's like half of that. at some point we have to figure out a way to fund this. maybe you can talk about the challenges when it comes to feeding the hungry. how do we piece together the funding? how do we do this? >> how much does it cost all together? we were hopeing it could be 100 million. grown it would solve the problem, but it would solve more than $59 million because the need is so great. with 50 million people or near
2:38 pm
that facing hunger in the united states, we have a big problem. all of the food that we provide which is well over 3.5 billion meals is just a small part of what we are able to provide. the infrastructure is on two levels. what i mentioned before, the one side is refrigeration and transportation and i will be able to keep it safe. the other side are the people who need to excess this. in the cities, it's a problem as well. we also have big challenge when we get donations. there may be a lot of one item and maybe nutrition, but not everyone can live on carrots alone. a variety of things that make it possible for people to have access to all of this. being able to harness more food
2:39 pm
going to waste would not solve the whole problem. >> i think that the good news is there is not that much capital needed on the infrastructure side in the grand scheme for the recovery standpoint. it is needed and we all talked about the need for information technology and infrastructure like refrigerator trucks. in the grand scheme, that is not a huge amount of capital. >> the other point is the environmental aspect and the large need for composting and digestion. that requires a significant amount of capital. the private sector is interested in participating and foundations and impact they are interested
2:40 pm
in. there is the opportunity for there needs to be signalling for what needs to be done and there is a willing investor on the other side. >> thank you. >> time expired. i would tell the group that we're working on getting a screening for the members and staff. we will keep you posted on that to take advantage of that. >> i thank the panel for being here and i want to switch gears. we have a lot of push back from schools. the superintendents and teachers and parents and coaches. when the national school lunch program changed in 2012, it started in being implemented that school year. the complaint we got from school
2:41 pm
districts was where children were not used to the menu items and they would turn up their nose at what they have been offered. the standards as side, they are challenged by trying to take their food budget and given consideration to how you analyze food waste and schools and what you might do to alleviate the problem. anyone want to comment on that? >> one thing briefly. there is a great student in schools and classrooms and a couple of people alluded to where we made a lot of progress and things like smoking and recycling and where we talked about that in schools. there was an opportunity to point this out for kids. in terms of the school
2:42 pm
lunchrooms, there was confusion like the things we talked about. there is opportunity within the emerson act with guidance to say this is how it applies to you. opportunities to donate food and more can be done definitely. the more we can do, the less waste there will be. they are the same. there has been a lot of documentation of efforts like the farm to table work and marketing produce to kids. some of those things that are recipes that make the food caste good. it's not just veggies out of the can that look drab. they can help to address waste
2:43 pm
as well as health and fruit and vegetable consumption. i think ideas around share tables in schools is opportune because you have kids who are taking a full carton of milk because they have to take it and throw it straight in the gashage can. that is a shame. there is an opportunity for guidance to direct schools to allow for sharing of that food. there is a new program that is a partnership between food banks and growers and packers to provide 50 servings to students and at-risk schools for free. this program introduces products to children at an early age while providing educational
2:44 pm
colors on menu ideas. 98% of the parents reported that their childrenate mohr fruits and vegetables while participating in the program and 74% were able to maintain that consumption after the program ended. as miss gunder said, trying to increase the consumption would be a big help. >> maybe our experience in other areas might be helpful here. we have a program that focuses on foods to encourage. our experiences that even though we might think there a range of foods, grains, and produce and proteins that are good for us to eat, it doesn't mean that they will lean into that if their life experience was different. we learned from the work that our food banks and pantries have been doing, the way in which it is presented and talked about, the way in which it is approached makes a difference. simply putting it on the plate, if kids have never seen it
2:45 pm
before and adults won't get us to where we want to go. the encouragement makes a big difference. it's true for people who walk into the super markets when it's presented and they want to do it and we need to apply that in this area. >> indeed. just in the aside, we have a hearing in my district and collected a lot of comments to address the school nutrition program. i think one of the most -- i thought most productive comments came from one of the moms on the panel who suggested that these programs be implemented on a scale that is k-2 as opposed to k-12 and graduate that into implementation overtime. so that children are sort of growing into it as you suggest, making healthier food choices. do you agree with that?
2:46 pm
certainly the notion of making it a delightful thing to do rather than required thing to do is likely to succeed. the particulars i will leave to the experts. >> let me take a moment to recognize my foster student in my home. namy is here if she will stand up. >> thank you for being here. >> thank you. >> next week will be the one-year anniversary of the initiative that i launched in north carolina to raise awareness to the high level of hunger 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. we have a serious problem and i
2:47 pm
have been concerned about that. hunger is a consequence of not having a good paying job and to raise a family. as some of you have mentioned, developing food recovery will help local farmers stay in business and create jobs to help with the additional transportation and distribution of donated food to those who need it. the first question is to the north carolinian on the panel, mr. oxford. your testimony lays out several way that is the company and other members of the produce marketing is finding innovative ways to reduce food waste and maximize left over produce within the foot system. 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
2:48 pm
banks. >> appreciate your support in washington, d.c. we believe there is an opportunity for greater education. our experience with l and m has been positive in working with the florida association of food banks. and ensuring that the producers understand the options is helpful, but equally important is educating consumers. we talked a little bit about the things and the need to change behavior that one of the colleagues mentioned. that's very critical if we want to make a real difference and move the needle here. a change in behavior is speaking on behalf that beginning that dialogue and trying to change starts at a young age and we learn our hands and our falls.
2:49 pm
including with the partnership of a healthier america. the white house had a program called eat brighter. i mentioned sesame workshop that provided their assets and characters for free to put on the packaging for fresh po deuce. changing and having a collaborative dialogue and get being people involved is critical. >> thank you. several universities in north carolina operate campus kitchens. the student run organizations use facilities to turn donated food for those who need it. what recommendations would you make to donate unwanted foot products and feeding organizations? >> thanks for your question and all of the work you do in this
2:50 pm
area. as you know, the federal bill emerson good samaritan act that we talked about today, it makes it possible to provide protection for people 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
2:51 pm
funds, 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
2:52 pm
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
2:53 pm
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.
2:54 pm
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. so you don't have the access issues.
2:55 pm
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
2:56 pm
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.
2:57 pm
>> 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
2:58 pm
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
2:59 pm
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 omnibus 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 passing 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
3:00 pm
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


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on