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tv   Meredith Lee  CSPAN  May 20, 2022 7:34am-8:03am EDT

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washington journal continues. host: a focus now on food shortages and rising food prices. meredith, i'm going to go right to your latest story in politico.
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explain what is happening there and why that is impacting food and prizes. guest: the war in ukraine has really hampered the ability for ukraine to get any kind of food out of the country. it is a major grain producer, as is russia. the russian military blockade around ukraine and the black sea right now is hampering the ability for millions of tons of grains to leave ukraine and -- to countries across africa who rely on those foods. host: how do you get these foods out and get them to market? guest: they have been trying to push for a humanitarian corridor
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that would be established from the port of odessa. they traveled out of the black sea and bring supplies to africa. that is a huge undertaking and risk russian retaliation. they are trying to work through issues right now hoping to establish that corridor. host: president biden yesterday on his trip to illinois talked about that. here is a little bit of what he had to say. [video clip] pres. biden: ukraine is world's largest producer of wheat and corn for cooking oil. they have 20 tons of grain in their -- 20 million tons of grain in their silos right now. those tons don't get to market, an awful lot of people will in africa are going to starve to
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death. they are the sole supplier of a number of african countries. but the point is this, because of what the russians are doing in the black sea, putin has access to get this grain out, to get this wheat out. it has prevented ukrainian farmers from planning next year's crop. while we are doing something about it, our farmers are helping in both front to produce the food at home and the world in need. host: meredith lee, explain what the president was doing on that trip and when he was proposing. guest: they don't have a ton of foods at their disposal.
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the one thing the president talked about this week is the high cost for farmers to produce food. and those costs get transferred to the bill americans see everyday. providing funding for more things like fertilizer, that is a main concern right now. some of the pressure -- will help drive down some of these --. host: phone lines, democrats, (202) 748-8000. republicans, (202) 748-8001.
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independents, (202) 748-8002. we found on inflation was 8.1%. breakdown what that means to keep down food commodities. guest: a lot of these prices are being driven by home grocery markets. meat is higher than we have seen in years. it is really hitting americans grocery bills. trying to tackle consolidation in the market, but still trying to find their footing. host: we are hearing a lot in recent days about this infant food formula shortage. explain why that happened and did this take the country by surprise? did we know this was coming? guest: we did know a little bit
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about this. last year there was a bacteria outbreak at 11 michigan. the market is so consolidated, if one brand is taken off the market, that is a huge blow. they were basically deciding if it was worded -- if it was worth recalling. two babies died and the fda issued a recall. not only do we see parents gambling for the specialty formulas, -- right now. host: why is production so concentrated? why does one facility going off-line have such an impact? people have probably seen images of the formula off the shelves.
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guest: in the united states, there are only a few countries that control that kind of production. especially the form -- especially the specialty formulas. that allows a few companies to control the market. one of the things the fda is trying to do now, they are trying to control imports and get supplies to other countries. something that people -- to me we should have been doing for the past two years. host: taking your phone calls. we have about 20 minutes. tim, toledo, ohio, democrat. you're up first. caller: good morning. how are you doing this morning?
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host: doing well. you're on with meredith lee. caller: we don't have a solution for -- i cannot really -- we grow tomatoes, green beans. turn my back yard a garden.
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grow your own food where you can. give a little bit relief to the supply chain by growing your own. host: meredith lee? guest: locals farmers market here in d.c., really trying to support local producers, growing your own food. that is a good point when our food systems are reeling from the pandemic. host: with some of these
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shortages, how much concern is a food panic? so many stories about the infant formula and trying not to create --? guest: ken ukraine, they were careful to warn about food shortages. they didn't want to create panic. they are getting the message now, it is not going to be widespread produce or grocery items right now. but it is important they are leaning into the fact --.
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host: to nebraska on the republican line, jeff, good morning. caller: they knew seven months ago that putin was going to pool this. they should have started planning a long time ago. we have 107,000 people. they have done nothing with the border. all this is just piling up. they have got no answers. this is the saddest thing i have ever seen. our government is so -- our government isn't so much trouble, it is unbelievable. host: as the war in ukraine is
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unfolding, taking viewers back -- too big to fail. explain what they were trying to do then. guest: they are seeing a call for the united states and other company -- other countries to pull out of the market. there are a number of large food companies, large grain trading at the come needs --. especially arguing they are providing a humanitarian -- they
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don't want to pressure the russian people that way. putin and the russians in general have tried to use -- in developing countries and around the world. host: tomorrow -- to myrtle beach, south carolina. caller: why isn't she mentioning the cost of diesel? i talked to you before about the high gas prices. if you told me, you brought out your big charts and told me biden was going to lower the
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prices. that hasn't talked -- that hasn't happened. the rights of diesel also includes our fishermen, the food industry, the truckers. host: let's talk about it, linda. guest: definitely that is a part of the agriculture -- fuel prices can -- host: the price of gas hitting is high this week.
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gas buddy raising its average price of a gallon of gas in the united states. in 2022, -- caller: who is it that you work for? guest: a media company based in d.c. but we are a national news organization. host: do you have a question about food prices and shortages? caller: yes i do.
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what do you see from the outcome for today in the near future for shelving restarts, companies being able to produce food -- where do we go over here? if we utilize our cold countries production to the extent we can use see -- can even see our --
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guest: we have enough wheat, corn, things like that to feed people. in general, we do have enough food in the united states to feed people. we are very lucky in that regard. americans are not going to be as impacted from other countries from the ukraine war. host: want to go back to the
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infant formula issue. it says that that sounds like a hill -- on manufacturers. guest: that has been slow and less than satisfactory on regulating food. it is one of those things people are looking at and thinking that potentially the fda, there could have been better oversight and the response could have been better. host: lena on twitter say the form meet packing monopolies need to be broken up. they are overcharging consumers. guest: the president spoke about
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this in his state of the union address. the big four meat processing companies, those conglomerates are really controlling a lot of the market. farmers are only able to solve those companies. the biden administration has been -- those companies who fuel prices right now. the biden administration has been trying to work on spending for local producers. smaller producers in local level to help stir competition in the market. host: texas, lou, independent, good morning. caller: good morning.
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i want to know, which is worse, starvation for the world? will it cause more stress in the world -- guest: he was asking about? host: willden using nuclear weapons further exacerbate the problem of food supply shortage? guest: -- are very volatile right now. any kinds of things like the war, other kinds of market, big
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market disruptions will have an impact on food prices. host: democrat, good morning. caller: good morning. my question is about the pharmaceutical companies. we can put chavez in jail but we find that pharmaceutical companies for there miss doing. the second question is, what about the weights in foods? you think you're buying five pounds of sugar but you are really buying four pounds and the prices going up. if you are buying 16 ounces of tomatoes, you have to buy two cans. why is the price going up and we get less? host: pharmaceutical isn't really in your coverage, do you want to cover the foodways question? guest: company sometimes,
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especially during inflation, make their boxes and their packaging smaller and charge the same or a little more for that. that is something we see with companies in the rising costs for sure. host: meredith lee on twitter. caller: we had a lot of -- from
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china. host: do we get much from chinese manufacturers? guest: i am not sure about that. caller: it don't help when food is held up at the borders. like the governor in texas holding up the truck set the
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border. it don't help the food chain. guest: the texas governor had a policy that stopped charts carrying from mexico and southern border. caller: i am a sinful man. -- i am a simple man. the answer seems really simple.
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i want to understand, at least open it up temporarily. guest: republicans have been quick to criticize the plans.
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host: politicos food and agricultural reporter. you ca
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