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NMPF, Allied Groups Tell White House: Prioritize Food Access at Hunger Conference

June 30, 2022

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) led eleven national agricultural, anti-hunger, nutrition and medical groups today in a virtual listening session urging the White House to place a high priority on access to affordable, diverse and nutritious foods when it holds its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health this September.

The NMPF-organized session offered the White House both expertise and lived experience from a wide range of organizations on how important increased access to food and a diverse range of food choices are to fight nutrition insecurity and improve nutrition-related health.

“When the White House announced its Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, we at NMPF were excited by the potential for this conference to help propel meaningful advancement toward achieving the conference’s stated goals of ending hunger, increasing healthy eating and physical activity, and decreasing the prevalence of diet-related diseases in America,” said NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern in remarks at the session. “We, and our collaborators on this listening session, share these goals and know from personal experience and decades of working on this issue that increasing access to food is critical to attaining them.”

The participating organizations said of the session and the White House conference:

“Eggs are one of the most affordable sources of high-quality protein available and can play an important role in fighting food insecurity and malnutrition in America and the world,” said Dr. Mickey Rubin of American Egg Board’s Egg Nutrition Center. “America’s egg farmers are committed to ensuring that nutritious, affordable eggs remain accessible to all Americans.”

“IDFA members are deeply committed to ending hunger by making it easier for everyone — urban, suburban, rural, and Tribal communities — to access and afford healthy, nutritious milk and dairy foods,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association. “SNAP and WIC are central to this conversation. We know from USDA’s Foods Typically Purchased Report that dairy products make up at least 20 percent of the grocery bill for SNAP participants. With creation of the Healthy Fluid Milk Incentive Projects (HFMIP) passed in the 2018 Farm Bill, policymakers took SNAP incentives a step further and sought to address the dairy consumption gap highlighted in the 2020-2025 DGAs. Yet, HFMIP is not working at the scale necessary to address malnutrition and chronic health diseases. Therefore, we encourage leaders gathering at the White House conference to focus on building a healthy dairy foods incentive program at national scale in partnership with food retailers, local nutrition and health organizations, state SNAP agencies, and dairy foods makers.”

“All Americans deserve the opportunity to live the healthiest life possible, and foundational to that is having access to affordable, culturally diverse nutrient-rich foods” said Katie Brown, EdD, RDN, senior vice president of scientific and nutrition affairs at National Dairy Council. “Dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt can be part of the solution to ensuring nutrition security and improving public health.”

“School meal programs are America’s most effective tool to expand children’s access to healthy foods to support their growth, development and academic success,” said School Nutrition Association Public Policy and Legislation Committee Chair Jessica Gould, RD, SNS. “During the pandemic, we witnessed the adaptability of these programs as school nutrition professionals nationwide pivoted to provide grab-and-go meals for curbside pick-up and expand services for families in need. With research showing school meals are the healthiest meals children are eating, these programs should be a cornerstone in efforts to improve food access for America’s families.”

“Egg farmers have been donating their time and resources for years to combat hunger. We commend the White House for organizing the upcoming nutrition conference, and Congress for funding it. We must work together to end hunger in America,” said Chad Gregory, President and CEO of United Egg Producers.

Also sharing stories and potential solutions at the listening session were American Academy of Pediatrics, American Society for Nutrition, Feeding America, Food Research and Action Center, and International Fresh Produce Association.

Today’s event is part of the broader effort to provide input to the White House as it crafts its strategy to end hunger and increase healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, which the White House has said it plans to release at the September conference.