FMI–The Food Industry Association President and CEO Leslie Sarasin will co-chair the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Food and Nutrition Security Task Force, which is aimed at improving access to healthy foods and diet quality for all Americans at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the need to reduce food insecurity in the U.S.
The one-year effort will also be led by former agriculture secretaries Dan Glickman and Ann Veneman, and chef Jose Andre, who founded the humanitarian food relief nonprofit World Central Kitchen.
“There is an urgent need to develop solutions to address both food and nutrition security in the context of COVID-19 and beyond,” said Glickman. “Poor nutrition and diet-related diseases and conditions, such as obesity, lead to poor health outcomes and higher healthcare costs. Our aim is to design solutions that not only help Americans get enough calories but also the right kind of calories. A commitment to health equity will also be central to the task force’s recommendations.”
The goal of the task force will be to assess both legislative and administrative policy opportunities and issue recommendations that will:
- Improve food and nutrition security during COVID-19 and the economic recovery.
- Strengthen the Child Nutrition Programs, including the Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
- Enhance the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other food assistance programs, including through the Farm Bill.
The group will also develop ideas for public and private sector collaboration to address food and nutrition security. This year, the group said in a press release, an estimated 42 million Americans, including 13 million children, are at risk of not having enough to eat.
“FMI and its members representing the business of food—wherever it is bought, sold or produced—recognize the important role we play in ensuring access to affordable, safe, and healthy foods for all Americans,” Sarasin added. “We look forward to working with leaders across all sectors to identify innovative policy solutions to eliminate food insecurity—one of America’s leading challenges.”
Task force members include:
- Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO, Feeding America
- Rochelle Davis, president and CEO, Healthy Schools Campaign
- Zippy Duvall, president, American Farm Bureau Federation
- Ihuoma Eneli, director, Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
- Rev. Douglas Greenaway, president and CEO, National WIC Association
- J. Nadine Gracia, EVP and COO, Trust for America’s Health
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