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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (OH-11), a Warrenville Heights Democrat who represents Ohio's largely Black 11th congressional district, which includes the city of Cleveland, Dan Newhouse (WA-4), Chellie Pingree (ME-1) and James P. McGovern (MA-2) on Tuesday introduced The Food Donation Act of 2017.
The bill, which needs approval by congress to become law, clarifies and enhances coverage underThe Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act (Emerson Act), which promotes food donation by protecting food donors and food recovery organizations.
In essence, it extends protections to manufactures, retailers and restaurants that want to donate food to the needed but worry about liability issues.
Cleveland has a ppverty rate of roughly 40 percent, U.S. Census reports reveal, and ranks 11th nationwide among cities with 65,000 or more residents.
Neraby Detroit, also a largely Black major American city, exceeds Cleveland with a poverty rate of 42 percent.
The statewide poverty rate in Ohio is 16 percent, while the national poverty rate is at 14 percent.
“Food insecurity is an urgent problem in our nation, but there are businesses and organizations trying to help.” said Congresswoman Fudge, who has a host of constituents that live below the poverty line. “The Food Donation Act supports them by increasing liability protections and creating new ways to donate while eliminating food waste."
Fudge said that the "bill goes a long way in helping to feed families in need.”
Rep Newhouse agrees.
“The law should never discourage people from taking action to help their neighbor,” said Congressman Newhouse. “The Food Donation Act will provide clarity and protections to farmers, retailers, and non-profits seeking in good faith to assist the hungry."
The federal lawmakers say their proposed reforms will reduce waste and save perfectly good food that could be used to help people.
"Fifty million Americans don’t have enough to eat, but I am hopeful that innovative donation models can get more healthy, safe food to hungry people. said Congresswoman Pingree. "This legislation takes common-sense and overdue steps to address food insecurity. By easing liability fears, businesses will be able to donate more food that is safe and perfectly good to eat.”
Congressman McGovern, a ranking member on the House Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee said “America is the richest country in the world, but 40 percent of the food we produce goes uneaten. "
"This is astounding," said McGovern, a Republican like Newhouse among the Democrats of Fudge and Pingree. "We must work harder to stop this waste and make sure this perfectly good food is put to good use by helping to feed the millions of American families who struggle with hunger every year,"
McGovern said that "I’m proud to join my friends Marcia Fudge, Chellie Pingree, and Dan Newhouse in this bipartisan effort to update and strengthen the Emerson Good Samaritan Act, and look forward to working with my colleagues on the Agriculture Committee to make further progress on reducing food waste during consideration of the 2018 Farm Bill.”
Nationwide, food insecurity, or the percentage of households who are uncertain they are able acquire enough food, is 13.7 percent. At 16.1 percent, Ohio ranks 6th in food insecurity. As a Member of the House Committee on Agriculture Nutrition Subcommittee, Congresswoman Fudge is committed to alleviating food insecurity and increasing access to fresh, affordable, healthy foods.
Click here to read The Food Donation Act of 2017.