“Imagine carrying four, five-pound bags of sugar around the block. That’s the amount of food the average American wastes every month,” CAFB President and CEO Nancy E. Roman told those attending the 2013 Northern Virginia Hunger Summit, held on Sept. 27 at the First Baptist Church of Alexandria.
The summit sponsored by the CAFB, brought together over 150 partner agencies, donors, supporters and community members to discuss food waste and, possible solutions. After the presentations, CAFB Director of Partners and Programs and Summit Moderator Marian Peele led a roundtable discussion, followed by a brief question and answer session.
Attention was focused on the “Bill Emerson Act,” more commonly known as the Good Samaritan Act which protects donors from liability when donating food. Ben Simon, founder of the Food Recovery Network, told the audience that the act is not very well known and that publicizing the act to restaurants and grocery stores is crucial to increasing food donations. More information on the Good Samaritan Food Donation Act can be found on the Feeding America website here and the Environmental Protection Agency here.
One of the CAFB partners brought up the difficulty in receiving donations when the agency doesn’t have a refrigerated truck. Meghan Stasz of the Grocery Manufacturers Association acknowledged that refrigerated food trucks are an important part of maintaining food safety standards, however she spoke about some of the innovative ideas that Feeding America food pantries across the nation have used. One suggestion was for partners to approach companies that have refrigerated trucks and ask them to donate their time and trucks.
Another topic that was covered by Panelist Elise Golan from the Sustainable Development Department from the USDA was the importance of food dating by using labels such as sell-by, use-by and best-by to demonstrate food safety standards. She referred those in the audience to the USDA Fact Sheet. This has been a continuing topic of conversation on the CAFB Partner Relations Facebook Page.
Roman expressed the hope that the summit would be a starting point for further community engagement around food waste.