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USDA: U.S. Hunger Rate Highest in Nearly Two Decades

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

(American Meat Institute)

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service yesterday released its annual report “Household Food Security in the United States,” which found that 13 million more American households had trouble putting food on the table in 2008 than they did in 2007.  In all, 14.6 percent of U.S. households — roughly 17 million — were “food insecure,” the most since surveys of this kind were initiated in 1995. 

In addition, worldwide, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has estimated that we will need to produce 70 percent more food for an additional 2.3 billion people in the world by 2050.

American Meat Institute President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle noted the irony of the report that found hunger in the U.S. rising, coupled with the need for increased worldwide food production, amidst calls from critics of modern agriculture who advocate for “slow food” and “local food” models which would make agricultural production less efficient and food products more expensive.  

“For those who work in the food industry and witness firsthand the bounty of the food supply in the United States, it can be difficult to imagine the extent of hunger in America,” said AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle.  “But as this report reiterates, hunger is a serious and growing domestic problem, with about 49 million Americans in need of food assistance.  We need to continue to enhance our productivity to feed the country and the world.”

Boyle also underscored the need to support anti-hunger organizations.  For the past 20 years, AMI has been working with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, through its formation of the “Meating the Need” partnership. Meat and poultry are the products most desired by food banks — and least available to those in need. Through this partnership, companies donate surplus meat and poultry to Feeding America food banks nationwide. In the past two years, AMI members have donated more than 33 million pounds of meat and poultry products to food banks, putting valuable protein foods on the tables of America's hungry. 

“I want to commend AMI member companies for the support they have given Feeding America and other hunger relief organizations across the country,” Boyle added.  “But as this unsettling report indicates, there remains a need to do more, especially as we approach the holiday season.

“For this reason, I am encouraging companies and individuals alike to join AMI’s ‘Meating the Need’ partnership with Feeding America by donating surplus product or by providing financial support to hunger relief organizations as they begin their Thanksgiving campaign to provide 9 million meals to Americans facing hunger.”

For more information or to donate surplus meat and poultry, call 312-263-2303 or visit http://www.meatinstitute.org/ht/d/sp/i/203/pid/203

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