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Representative Dwight Evans

Representing the 2nd District of Pennsylvania

Congressman Evans Introduces Healthy Food Access for All Americans Act

November 7, 2017
Press Release

This week, Congressman Dwight Evans (PA-02) joined with Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), Congressman Ryan Costello (R-PA), and Congressman Donald McEachin (D-VA) to introduce comprehensive legislation to incentivize food service providers such as grocers, retailers, and nonprofits to help eradicate food deserts.

The bipartisan Healthy Food Access for All Americans (HFAAA) Act sets up a system of tax credits and grants for businesses and nonprofits who serve low-income and low-access urban and rural areas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food insecurity as a lack of consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy life. According to the USDA, an estimated 37 million Americans live in food deserts.  Food insecurity means people are going hungry—and that just should not happen in the richest nation on the planet.

“I truly believe when we change the narrative as it relates to healthy food options and provide greater access to nutritious food choices we can move the needle in terms of getting rid of food deserts, something I’ve focused a great deal of my time on throughout my entire career.  This bill is an example of a way to utilize the tax code to incentivize food merchants to help close the grocery store gap and change behaviors. We know diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and others, have a direct correlation to the foods we eat and to critical nutrients missing from our diets. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to introduce the Healthy Food Access for All Americans (HFAAA) Act. HFAAA is one of the tools in our toolbox that we can use to build healthier neighborhoods, block by block,” said Congressman Evans.

“Our food system is broken and ineffective. In a country where obesity and diabetes rates are skyrocketing, and where 37 million people live in food deserts, we cannot allow the status quo to continue. We must find new ways for all Americans to have access to fresh, healthy food. This legislation takes a big step in the right direction towards accomplishing that goal, and I’m proud to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress to get this done. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it makes economic sense to tackle a food system that is at the root of so much of our sky high healthcare costs,” said Congressman Ryan.

“Access to nutritious food should be an important aspect of every life. Under this legislation, grocery stores, farmers markets, and food banks that provide fresh, healthy foods would be encouraged to open, offer a permanent presence, or make renovations to their stores in underserved areas. Nutritious foods are linked to positive health outcomes, and this legislation is a step forward in making sure families can access the nutrients and food they need to be successful,” said Congressman Costello.

“Every person, regardless of where they live, deserves access to nutritious, affordable food yet thousands of families in my congressional district live in areas where food access is a problem. I am committed to addressing hunger and food insecurity, which is why I introduced the Healthy Food Access for all Americans Act with my colleagues. By creating incentives for food providers to establish themselves in communities without access to fresh foods, this commonsense bill will help my constituents secure healthier food options for themselves and their families. We must do everything we can to eliminate food deserts,” said Congressman McEachin.

The full list of organizations supporting the Healthy Food Access for All Americans (HFAAA) Act includes: Bread for the World, Environmental Working Group, Feeding America, Food Marketing Institute, Food Policy Action, Food Research and Action Center, the Food Trust, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Grocers Association, U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Reinvestment Fund, American Diabetes Association and Share Our Strength.

 

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Media Contact: Becca Brukman, 202-225-4001, Becca.Brukman@mail.house.gov

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