The Australian food industry was to be congratulated for donating a record 9 million kilograms of food to the hunger relief charity, Foodbank, in 2005-06, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing, Christopher Pyne, said today.
Speaking at the opening of the 39th annual Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology Convention in Adelaide, Mr Pyne said food companies that had donated their surplus production to Foodbank had made a valuable contribution to alleviating hunger.
"Midwinter is a difficult time for welfare agencies to keep up with feeding the hungry," Mr Pyne said.
"Foodbank, the largest hunger-relief charity in Australia, does an often unrecognised job of ensuring our welfare agencies have access to good-quality, nutritious and safe food.
"In the last 12 months Foodbank has distributed 9 million kilograms of food to more than 1,500 welfare agencies, providing food for 12 million meals. The food is donated by 25 national companies and 500 smaller ones and often comes from dedicated production runs by the food companies for Foodbank.
"I strongly urge any food company or retailer, large or small, that is not already donating, to contact Foodbank to see how they can help," Mr Pyne said.
Foodbank is the 'pantry' of welfare agencies and is the philanthropic arm of the Australian Food and Grocery Council and its member organisations. It is a registered charity (donations are tax deductible). More information can be found on its web site at http://www.foodbank.org.au/foodbank/foodbank.htm