Dr. Jean Mayer, professor of Nutrition in the School of Public Health, has been named chairman of the newly formed National Council on Hunger and Malnutrition.
The Council was conceived last October during a national conference of over 300 poverty and social welfare organizations that met in Washington to discuss the nutrition of the American poor. Mayer and John W. Gardner, past Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare, sponsored the conference.
The Council was created in an attempt to deal with mishandling of federal programs to feed the poor at both the federal and state levels. The Washington conference blamed such mishandling for acute malnutrition in many U.S. countries.
"Under the recent leadership of Secretary Orville L. Freeman, the Department of Agriculture--which is the main source of food for the poor--has been returning $500 million allocated for food to the Treasury," Mayer said, adding however that "ten million Americans are malnourished and are getting less food than they did six years ago."
The newly formed Council will establish a national monitoring system to spotcheck Federal food programs.
One of the main problems in food distribution, the conference found, was that some countries simply didn't care whether or not their people were fed and never applied for the federal food programs.
The conference also felt that the Department of Agriculture has been more concerned with the problems of farmers than with the distribution of food surpluses to the poor. Since programs such as the Food Stamp must be applied for many persons have not been benefiting from them because of ignorance and indifference on the part of the countries.
"The members of the Council were picked from a wide range of experience." Mayer said. "Rev. Ralph D. Abernathy, head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Walter P. Reuther, president of the United Auto Workers Union, are both on the Executive Committee."
John Krammer, a Harvard Law School graduate, is executive secretary of the Council, which he is now in the process of organizing.