WASHINGTON — On Sept. 28 during the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, the North American Meat Institute (NAMI) shared its commitment to help combat hunger in the United States. Through the Protein PACT for the People, Animals and Climate of Tomorrow, NAMI laid out its intentions to measure and fill the protein gap by 2025, calling it a “top priority.”

In July, NAMI declared food insecurity a non-competitive issue so that industry-wide information can be freely shared to implement best practices as the nation works to end hunger.

“According to Feeding America, meat is one of the top three most needed foods for food charities,” said Julie Anna Potts, NAMI president and chief executive officer. “Yet, meat represents just 1% of food distributed by food charities, in part due to limited capacity to limited infrastructure for cold storage, packing and distribution. The resulting ‘protein gap’ worsens hunger and particularly impacts women, children and older adults who have greater need for the nutrients, vitamins and minerals best and sometimes only found naturally in animal-source foods.”

NAMI members like Cargill, Tyson Foods Inc. and JBS have been proactive about making progress on the association’s commitment. In August, Cargill donated $10 million to the World Food Program. Tyson donated $2.5 million to Feeding America, as well a donation of 2.5 million lbs of protein during the month of September. JBS donated more than $2 million for improvements in cold storage and distribution, along with contributing to food safety training and safe meal preparation.

Tyson Foods provided its list of commitments during the Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health.

Another NAMI member, Smithfield Foods Inc., announced its commitment to the White House as well.

“Smithfield Foods has been an integral part of the fabric of our communities for more than 80 years since our founding in Smithfield, Va., in 1936,” said Shane Smith, president and CEO of Smithfield Foods. “The commitments we are sharing with the White House today are not brand-new goals for us; we have been focused on fighting food insecurity and hunger, supporting our communities and driving innovation in sustainability for decades.”