More than 44 million Americans experienced food insecurity last year, the highest number since 2014, at the same time that pandemic assistance was reduced, said a USDA report on Wednesday. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and anti-hunger groups called on Congress to protect funding for public nutrition programs, including WIC and SNAP.
With the end of emergency pandemic aid, monthly government spending on SNAP has fallen by more than 25 percent, to an average of $7.9 billion, said the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities on Thursday. SNAP households were receiving at least $95 less per month, the think tank said.
Two million SNAP households "faced food insufficiency" following the nationwide termination in March of so-called emergency allotments enacted during the pandemic, said researchers from the University of Pennsylvania medical school.
Russia is exporting more grain at higher prices than ever before while suppressing Ukrainian shipments, said Secretary of State Antony Blinken at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday. “Every member of this council, every member of the United Nations should tell Moscow: Enough using the Black Sea as blackmail, enough treating the world’s most vulnerable people as leverage.”
After steep increases due to the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, the global hunger total of as many as 783 million people is relatively stable and the goal of ending hunger by the end of the decade will be increasingly difficult to reach, said the annual United Nations report on world hunger.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy agreed in debt limit negotiations with President Biden to exempt able-bodied veterans and homeless Americans from a 90-day limit on SNAP benefits, said two White House officials. But the agreement also applies the 90-day limit to so-called ABAWDS — able-bodied adults without dependents — up to age 55; the cutoff age is 50 now.
No matter the fate of debt limit legislation in the House, and its proposal to more widely apply a 90-day limit on SNAP benefits, Congress is not done with food stamps this year. Attempts to cut SNAP costs and eligibility will shift to the farm bill in coming weeks, said lawmakers on Tuesday.
In a skeleton list of demands for White House concessions over the federal debt limit, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Monday that Republicans "would restore work requirements that ensure able-bodied adults without dependents earn a paycheck and learn new skills." McCarthy did not specify which federal programs he meant but SNAP usually limits so-called ABAWDs to 90 days of benefits in a three-year period unless they work at least 20 hours a week.
Women are as widely employed as men in agrifood systems around the world, but their working conditions are often worse and they earn much less than men, said an FAO report on Thursday. “Closing the gender gap in farm productivity and the wage gap in agrifood system employment would increase global gross domestic product by 1 percent, or nearly $1 trillion,” it said.
High food prices and a rollback of pandemic aids drove a significant increase in food insecurity last year, according to a survey by the Urban Institute that was published Tuesday. Some 24.6 percent of adults surveyed reported experiencing food insecurity in 2022, up from 20 percent in 2021. (No paywall)
Maryland and Vermont became the first states approved by the USDA to replace recipients’ SNAP benefits stolen by card skimming, card cloning and similar crimes, said Agriculture deputy undersecretary Stacy Dean on Tuesday. Benefit replacement is available for two years ending on Sept. 30, …
Ukrainian scientists say soil samples from the Kharkiv region show that “high concentrations of toxins such as mercury and arsenic from munitions and fuel are polluting the ground,” according to a Reuters report.
Millions of Americans are about to lose nearly $3 billion in SNAP benefits that were put into place to fight hunger during the pandemic. The extra benefits were not supposed expire until end of the Covid-19 public health emergency. But the government spending bill passed by Congress in December makes February the last month that the federal government will issue the emergency allotments. Anti-hunger groups say that these allotments have been a lifeline for families that are barely coping with high food and energy costs. They warn that people will go hungry, food pantries — already struggling with exceptionally high demand — will be overwhelmed and the economy will suffer. (No paywall)
By disrupting food production, climate change threatens “death from starvation on a scale that no living human today has ever witnessed,” said the head of an anti-hunger foundation during a panel discussion of malnutrition on Wednesday.
An estimated 2.2 million people in America are water-insecure, and that's almost certainly a huge undercount, explains Lela Nargi in FERN's latest story. Yet the issue "is not even on most public health professionals’ radar, although recent water disasters in Flint, Michigan, and Jackson, Mississippi, are starting to change that."
Lower beef prices helped pull down the food inflation rate to an annualized 10.9 percent in October, the second month in a row of a decline, said the Labor Department in the Consumer Price Index report.
America can end hunger by 2030 by fighting poverty, expanding access to healthy food, and reorienting healthcare toward preventing diet-related diseases, said President Biden on Wednesday. Framing the task in epic terms, he called on government and society to step up. “This could be a giant step,” he said. “This could remind us who the hell we are.” (No paywall)
With world hunger rates rising, President Biden announced Wednesday at the United Nations an additional $2.9 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance, including funds to feed schoolchildren and expand food production. We’re “taking on the food crisis head-on,” said Biden in a speech that denounced Russia for invading Ukraine and called for action on global warming.