Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Meat industry addresses hunger

The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) has stepped up to help address hunger and malnutrition in the United States, pledging its support during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.

The Meat Institute reminded the conference that it made a commitment through the Protein PACT for the People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow, to help measure and fill this “protein gap” by 2025.  

The Meat Institute has also formally designated food security as a non-competitive issue, which will make it less risky to share information among meat-packing companies about best practices contributing to ending hunger. This comes in the context of lawsuits alleging price fixing.

“According to Feeding America, meat is one of the top three most needed foods for food charities, yet meat represents only one per cent of food distributed by food charities, in part due to limited infrastructure for cold storage, packing, and distribution.

The resulting “protein gap” worsens hunger and particularly impacts women, children, and older adults who have greater need for the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals best and sometimes only found naturally in animal-source foods, NAMI said.

As examples, it said Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has donated $2 million to food banks, Cargill announced in August a new $4.9 million donation to Feeding America, including to build and expand protein pack rooms. JBS has donated more than $2 million for improvements in cold storage and distribution, along with contributing to food safety training and safe meal preparation. This month, Tyson Foods donated $2.5 million to Feeding America, allocating $1 million to Equitable Food Access grants, and 2.5 million pounds of protein.

Diane Sullivan, co-founder of Equitable Spaces, said “the 50 million Americans who have faced hunger are experts in navigating the inequities and lack of political will driving hunger. Their voices, experiences, and dignity must be at the center of solutions that put safe, affordable, culturally appropriate food on tables and finally end hunger in America.”