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The United States wastes approximately 133 billion pounds of food annually while 15 million American households are food insecure. Current and proposed U.S. legislation attempts to encourage food recovery efforts to address both of these problems by incentivizing donation of surplus foods by businesses to charitable organizations, yet legislation has failed to deliver. Food insecure individuals who use food banks or other safety net programs are often required to provide personal information and are subject to scrutiny in the process of acquiring food. Information can be leveraged in different ways to stigmatize or marginalize those in need. This presentation discusses the relationships between current legislation, safety net programs, and food insecure individuals to demonstrate that food recovery legislation is not a magic bullet that will address food insecurity or food waste in a system that has a long history of treating poverty as a character flaw.


Presented at Praxis Conference, George Mason University School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution. Arlington, VA. November 2, 2018.

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