WASHINGTON — Thirteen million more American households had trouble putting food on the table in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service annual report "Household Food Security in the United States" that was released earlier this week. In total, 14.6% of U.S. households, or approximately 17 million, were "food insecure" — the most since surveys of this kind were initiated in 1995, the American Meat Institute relayed.
Globally, 70% more food will need to be produced for an additional 2.3 billion people in the world by 2050, estimates the Food and Agricultural Organization (F.A.O) of the United Nations.
J. Patrick Boyle, American Meat Institute president and chief executive officer, noted the irony of finding hunger in the U.S. rising, coupled with the need for increased worldwide food production, while critics of modern agriculture advocate "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 first-hand the bounty of the food supply in the U.S., it can be difficult to imagine the extent of hunger in America," Mr. Boyle said. "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."
Anti-hunger organizations need everyone’s support, Mr. Boyle said. A.M.I. has been working with Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief organization, for the past 20 years 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, A.M.I. members have donated more than 33 million lbs. of meat and poultry products to food banks, putting valuable protein foods on the tables of America's hungry.
"I want to commend A.M.I. 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."
Mr. Boyle is encouraging companies and individuals to join A.M.I.’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."