Hunger Games

The Lempert Report
March 10, 2023

Let's talk about hunger. So Publix, one of, in my opinion, one of the best retailers, grocery retailers in the nation and they're hosting their first Hunger summit. This is to address growing food insecurities. They are really saying that in the southeast part of the country, they're more than 7 million people who are food insecure. Over the past decade, they have donated 46 million to nonprofits for hunger. This Hunger Summit is bringing together US representatives, three dozen food bank organization, USDA, Publix's experts, and the Florida Agriculture Commissioner, to have an open dialogue to share the best practices, to talk about how we can all work together to help hunger in our community. This is great, but it just doesn't stop there. There's more hunger stories. Tell us about that. 

Sally: There are and there are a lot of, once again, we're seeing celebrities get involved with the United Nations World Food Program, which is really bringing a lot of awareness to global food insecurity. The Weeknd, Kate Hudson, Michael Kors are all high level supporters, and most recently I read about Eitan Bernath, who has partnered with the United Nations World Food Program program to help raise money. And he's got 10 million followers on his social media accounts. And he's so interesting because, I believe he was on the show Chopped when he was 11 years old. So young to be on a show and to succeed, be succeeding at such a young age in the food world. So it's really great to, once again, see these celebrities and these influencers using their platform for a great cause. 

Phil: Absolutely. And he's only 20, and can you imagine what he's gonna accomplish by the time he's 30? Yes. If he's got 10 million followers now, it's great. We need more people like him, like the Weeknd to really be pushing and prevent hunger. Certainly, what we've seen, as we've seen from the administration really trying to get behind solving the hunger problem. Over by 2030, I think they've said, they have major retailers who have embraced it. They're giving more food to food banks. They're really doing a great job. And part of that is also the new food code. I shouldn't say new. The food code actually started in 1934, so it's not new, but it comes out every two years. And what's interesting to me is what they want to do is they want to eliminate waste. 

Phil: They want to have standards, if you would, on how retailers and restaurants can give food, whether it's food banks or other communities. The problem that I've got with this, it is actually 663 pages. So we've put a link in the chat, so if you wanna download all 663 pages, you can, but when we have that, it becomes overwhelming, in my opinion, whether it's a retailer or a restaurant, to be able to comply with this. I mean, how do you read 663 pages? I started going through it. I mean, they're basics like holding temperatures, how to cook, not undercook to eliminate contaminated equipment, food that comes from unsafe sources, poor personal hygiene. My concern is that I don't think it's written in a way that people can understand it and accept it. I mean, you need to be a scientist to read these 633 or 663 pages to get through it. I'd really much rather see, and I know the government has to do this stuff, and they've gotta really make sure all the facts are correct and so on. I'd like them to come up with a cheat sheet that's maybe two or three pages that they can give to supermarkets and to restaurants on how to comply. Because otherwise, you know, you look at this and you go, whoa, this is gonna take a lot of work to do. 

Sally: Right? And then they're too afraid to donate that food because they're afraid that they're not complying and that they might be liable for some situation. So yes, we do need to make it easier for producers of food, people who sell food in different types of business to donate that food whenever they can. So it does not go to waste. 

Phil: Yeah, 40% of all of our food is wasted. We need to curb that. No question. A lot of people are hungry,especially now with the rollback of the SNAP benefits. We're under more pressure than ever before to ease that burden of hunger. And I applaud what the Biden administration is doing, but let's make it a little bit easier for people.