SACRAMENTO – Speaker John A. Pérez’s (D-Los Angeles) bill to eliminate food deserts through increased access to healthy and nutritious foods passed through the Senate Health Committee today, receiving bipartisan support.
Pérez’s AB 581 establishes the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a program that aims to eliminate food deserts — large geographic areas with little to no access to affordable, quality, healthy foods — and increase access to healthy and nutritious foods. The bill also positions the state to receive federal dollars as part of President Obama’s Health Food Financing Initiative — a partnership between the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Treasury, to invest $340 million nationwide.
“Through the California Healthy Food Financing Initiative, we have the potential to provide healthy and nutritious food choices for all Californians,” Speaker Pérez said. “By creating a pathway to increased healthy food access, we can start to eliminate food deserts; improving people’s quality of life through healthy eating.”
Residents in food desert areas do not have access to a selection of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Research has shown that these residents of food deserts, which occur in both rural and urban areas, generally have higher incidences of premature death, and certain types of diseases including diabetes, cancer, obesity, heart disease.
“AB 581 marks a big step in giving Californians the opportunity to access affordable healthy food,” Pérez added.
AB 581 received unanimous bipartisan support on the Assembly floor, and sailed through the Assembly Agriculture Committee and the Assembly Health Committee on unanimous votes before passing through the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate Health Committee.
The bill now heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
CONTACT: John Vigna (916) 319-2408
Website of Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez: www.asmdc.org/speaker