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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  May 26, 2016 12:00am-2:01am EDT

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member da faz yo for five minutes. >> thank you, madam chair. ms. flowers, i realize you're briefly on the job.
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questions and i am sorry we couldn't go on but we have as much time as possible and thank you both very much. >> thank you. madam secretary, we proudly give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states -- ♪ our road to the white house coverage continues on thursday from california.
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at 4:00 p.m. eastern we'll take you live to ventura nor a campaign rally with bernie sanders. and then at 4:30 hillary clinton holds a rally in san jose. that is live on c-span. by some estimates, 40% of all food produced in the u.s. is thrown away. next, the house agricultural committee looks at the issue of food waste and how to redirect it to those who need it. this is about two hours. good morning. this hearing on the committee of agriculture and food waste from the field to the table will come to order. i've asked david scott to open us with a prayer. david. >> dear heavenly father, we come before your thrown of grace to first of all give thanks.
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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. for what could be more important than the food that we get on the table for needy people. and in this case, dear heavenly father, as we discuss the issue of food waste, we hope that you will implant 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. dearly father, we ask them in your name and the name of your
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son jesus christ, amen. >> amembn. thank you, david. well good morning. since i became chair of the house of agricultural last we're we've held over 70 hearings and invited people in the field to share their knowledge of everything from the future markets to the farmer's market. the committee doesn't agree all of the time on every issue but one of the reasons we're able to work in a bipartisan manner is that we remember well meaning people could have different ideas about how to achieve the same goal, whatever the issue pay be. because we have a different way of getting there, doesn't mean one of us is wrong and that this is sometimes -- and this is something we lose sight of in america today. good public policy is not a game. if advocates or members or whoever it may be are unopen to compromise it ensured retention of the status quo regardless of the issue. a variety of the stakeholders is in the review of food waste. i commend my colleague shelly fingery for putting this on the
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congressional radar. today's hearing may by been may be the fir time they are addressing the issue but it will not be last. 40% of the country is food is wasting and that amounts to 340 billion pounds waist wasted and that is a billion with a b. considering we have 45 million people receiving food stamps assistance through snap, i believe this is a tremendous opportunity for us to take a closer look at the food chain and figure out a way to ensure that food grown in this country reaches the dinner table and not the trash can. speaking two weeks ago at the food waste summit the secretary commented that avoid food waste loss could help prevent hunger and malnourishment in 825 to 850 million people worldwide who are not getting adequate food. tackling food waste in this country is and should be a nonpartisan issue that is most successful from the field to the
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table. it will take the collaboration of all stake hoerlds to be successful. as we begin the review we'll identify issues that seem easy to resolve but are more complex than they appear. we'll likewise identify other issues already addressed but require collaboration and in what amounts to a public relations campaign to raise awareness. two issues that congress has acted upon are the permanent tax deduction for food donations an the good samaritan food donation act. the permanent donation was identified in recent legislation and was enacted as part of the last omnibus. the second issue is what we hear an awful lot about which is addressed by our former colleague and vice chair of the committee the late bill emerson. many businesses, when given the opportunity to donate perfectly safe and wholesome food are reluctant because of liability concerns. the enact in 1996 fully addressed this concern. i wish to place into the record a memorandum of opinion for the
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usda general council that spelled out the act and described the effect on tate laws that may not provide the same level of protection. we begin hearing -- preparing for this hear -- when we began preparing for this hearing we reached out to representative fingering who i am happy is here with us today and shortly offered her introductory comments of her own. witnesses that are invited represent a broad range of perspectives and expertise but no in way -- in no way represents the entirety of the community representing this challenge. this is one element of the view and we invite members of the staff and other interested stake holders to attend an event later this afternoon in the hearing room on the balcony to see what organizations are doing to address food waste. that event will begin sat approximately 1:30 today. i will recognize our ranking member for any opening remarks he may have. >> thank you, mr. chairman and welcome today's witnesses and congressman fingery. i appreciate you are leadership on this issue. welcome to the committee.
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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 we see in this country and i'm glad that we're looking at this issue today. american customers are 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. but that is no longer the case and food waste has increased. producers have done such a good job of creating an abundant food supply that a lot of folks don't think twice about tossing out food that may not look perfect or is surpassed a best-by or sell-by date on the box, whatever that means. this is a challenge but i also think it presents a great opportunity for agriculture. while many have no problem
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throwing food away, many americans are still struggling to feed families. there is a role for fathrmers a ranchers and they should step up to the plate and help meet the needs. and again i'm looking forward to a constructive conversation. i think this is an area we could work across party lines and tackle food waste in this country so i look forward to the testimony and i yield back. >> thank you, gentleman. the chair requests that other members submit their opening statements for the record so our witnesses may begin their testimony and make sure there is ample time for questions. i would like to welcome the first panel to the witness table. the honorable shelly fingering from congresswoman from the great state of maine. you may begin when you are ready. >> well thank you very much, chairman connaway and to ranking member peterson. i appreciate that you are holding this hearing and giving me the opportunity to say a few words about it and i particularly appreciate that you remembered to call it the great state of maine.
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so obviously this is an issue that people have been increasingly concerned about and i've been very grateful to have a chance to work with it and as all of you said, work across the aisle with a 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 in 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 are 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 is confuse around date labelling or how food can be disposed of or the good samaritan laws that we've talked about, it just 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 those food banks and to those people in need. so that is part of what we're
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proposing to look at in the bill that we submitted called the food recovery act. it is wonderful to see that the usda and the epa together have announced a food reduction goal. they did that last year and their goal is to reduce food waste by 50% by the year 2030 so an ambitious goal but showing great opportunities there. i'm fortunate enough to serve on the agricultural appropriations sub-committee so we're working with ways to work with them on funding areas that could make a difference in solving this problem and also work on some of the same things with the fda. there is certainly 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 that you have chosen, you'll start to hear that it is something that 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 and restaurant owners to reduce that or make sure it
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goes places that it wants. in my own state we have a supermarket chain committed to zero waste making sure everything gets sold in the store that possibly can, even if it looks ugly or misshapen and making sure it gets to food banks and places where people in are ned and making sure that food goes to a composting or digester because most food waste ends up in municipal landfills and for those of you who have served on the government that is one of the increasiing costs an producing methain gas and if it is converted to compost or digestion, we are left with wonderful looking soil or producing energy with that food waste. so making sure that there are federal funds available to families that want to do that is 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 mention the one thing that
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ranking member peterson and i were just talking about and 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 and it has a label on it and think, okay, well this is probably still good, we should eat it. yet someone else in the household said no, look at that date, we have to throw it away. we submitted a bill last week with senator blumenthal about date labelling to bring sensibility into this. and because we hear so much about the domestic disagreement that go on we thought we should call this the domestic harmony bill to reduce the issues that people face. but manufacturers have joined us. we were endorsed in that bill by campbell's soup and nestle and a variety of other companies have come forward because they find it confusing too. basically the 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 eat that food. so our idea is to -- to ask the
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usda and the fda to create a label that says expires on for those foods that do have a safety issue and you should know when it is too late to eat it and the other one says best it used by. the bag is best if you use it by a certain date but nothing will happen if you eat it a month later or the next season which you return -- when you return to your summer cabin or find it in a box you never unpacked. chances are that is perfectly good food. we would like to bring sensibility and great for manufacturers and takes the stigma out that food is donated and there are 20 states that prohibit food donations if that date has passed. and if you think about it, we are keeping 20 states away from giving food to people in need and it is completely arbitrary date. so it seems like that is one of the ones that is extremely cost effective. it would create much less waste. something that most of us agree on and you'll find most of the manufacturers and others agree on it as well. so thank you very much for giving me a moment to open this
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up today. thank you for taking on this topic. i look forward to working with you in any way i can and thank you for giving me a little bit of the nostalgia to return to the committee which i served on in my early days and i enjoyed working with you and being in this room. >> thank you for being here and appreciate your comment this is morning and for your leadership in getting this initiative started. and we'll look forward to pitching in with you on -- i shouldn't say pitching in. but nevertheless helping in with reduction of food waste. >> bee careful about that baseball stuff. >> we'll transition to the second panel. shelly, thank you very much for being with us today. i appreciate it. i would like to welcome the second panel of witnesses to the table. dana gunders, a senior scientist, national resources defense council, san francisco, california. we have mr. jesse fink, the director of mission point and in norwalk, connecticut. mr. john oxford, president and ceo of l and m companies in


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