Legislature(2019 - 2020)BARNES 124

03/18/2019 01:00 PM RESOURCES

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Audio Topic
01:06:06 PM Start
01:06:32 PM Presentation(s): Alaska Traditional Foods Movement
02:13:27 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Presentations: TELECONFERENCED
- Alaska Traditional Foods Movement by Melissa
A. Chlupach, MS, RD, LD, UAA College of Health
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
- Arctic Strategic Transportation & Resources by
Faith Martineau, Exec. Dir., DNR Office of
Project Management & Permitting
<Above Item Removed from Agenda>
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE RESOURCES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 18, 2019                                                                                         
                           1:06 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative John Lincoln, Co-Chair                                                                                           
Representative Geran Tarr, Co-Chair                                                                                             
Representative Grier Hopkins, Vice Chair                                                                                        
Representative Sara Hannan                                                                                                      
Representative Ivy Spohnholz                                                                                                    
Representative Dave Talerico                                                                                                    
Representative George Rauscher                                                                                                  
Representative Sara Rasmussen                                                                                                   
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Chris Tuck                                                                                                       
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
PRESENTATION(S):  ALASKA TRADITIONAL FOODS MOVEMENT                                                                             
     - HEARD                                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
No previous action to record                                                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MELISSA CHLUPACH, MS, RD, LD, Assistant Professor                                                                               
Dietetics and Nutrition Program                                                                                                 
University of Alaska Anchorage                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation                                                                    
entitled, "Alaska Traditional Foods Movement" and answered                                                                      
AMY FOOTE, Senior Area Executive Chef                                                                                           
Alaska Native Medical Center                                                                                                    
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Co-provided a PowerPoint presentation                                                                    
entitled, "Alaska Traditional Foods Movement" and answered                                                                      
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:06:06 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  JOHN  LINCOLN  called   the  House  Resources  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at  1:06 p.m.  Representatives Hannan,                                                               
Talerico, Spohnholz, Rauscher, Tarr,  and Lincoln were present at                                                               
the  call  to  order.    Representatives  Hopkins  and  Rasmussen                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
^PRESENTATION(S):  ALASKA TRADITIONAL FOODS MOVEMENT                                                                            
      PRESENTATION(S):  ALASKA TRADITIONAL FOODS MOVEMENT                                                                   
1:06:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR LINCOLN announced that the  only order of business would                                                               
be a presentation on the Alaska Traditional Foods Movement.                                                                     
1:07:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MELISSA CHLUPACH, MS, RD, LD,  Assistant Professor, Dietetics and                                                               
Nutrition Program,  University of Alaska Anchorage,  introduced a                                                               
PowerPoint  presentation  entitled,   "Alaska  Traditional  Foods                                                               
Movement."   Ms.  Chlupach displayed  maps of  North America  and                                                               
Alaska and  pointed out,  because of the  limited road  system in                                                               
the northern part  of Alaska, many food products  must be shipped                                                               
to  villages via  air, barge,  or ferry  and thus  transportation                                                               
costs are  very high (slides  1 and 2).   Slide 3  pictured local                                                               
grocery markets  in villages.   Slide 4  illustrated the  cost of                                                               
some  items  purchased in  Kotzebue:    Four fruit  cups,  $6.79;                                                               
bottled  salad dressing,  $8.19;  a can  of  Tang, $9.99;  infant                                                               
formula, $30.49; one gallon of  milk, $9.39.  Although some fresh                                                               
local  produce  is  grown hydroponically,  gathering  traditional                                                               
foods is also expensive due to the  cost of fuel.  She stated the                                                               
most  important, nutritious,  and healing  foods are  traditional                                                               
foods.  Ms.  Chlupach asked the committee to  imagine a situation                                                               
focused on the  good feelings brought by certain  foods; she then                                                               
asked  the committee  to  imagine  a situation  in  which one  is                                                               
hospitalized far from home.                                                                                                     
1:13:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. CHLUPACH  spoke of the changes  one suffers due to  a medical                                                               
emergency  and  experiences  found  in a  hospital  setting;  she                                                               
opined familiar  foods can bring  great comfort to those  who are                                                               
suffering (slides 7 and 8).                                                                                                     
1:16:09 PM                                                                                                                    
AMY  FOOTE, Senior  Area Executive  Chef,  Alaska Native  Medical                                                               
Center, related a  circumstance in which a patient  was offered a                                                               
herring egg salad that brought her  joy and healing (slides 9 and                                                               
MS. CHLUPACH  said within the  Division of  Environmental Health,                                                               
Food Safety  and Sanitation  Program, DEC,  there is  an existing                                                               
code that  allows traditional foods  to be donated  to facilities                                                               
such  as  hospitals,  long-term  care  facilities,  schools,  and                                                               
senior meals  programs.  The  code stipulates donated  foods must                                                               
be whole,  gutted, or gilled,  or as quarters, or  roasts without                                                               
further  processing.   These regulations  are designed  to reduce                                                               
the  potential  cross contamination  that  can  occur during  the                                                               
processing  of  ground  meat,  stew meat,  or  fillets;  a  whole                                                               
product  that is  donated can  subsequently be  processed by  the                                                               
recipient or by  a processing facility.  She related  seal oil is                                                               
widely requested  but is  a prohibited food  item because  of the                                                               
possibility  of  botulism  (slide  12);  slide  13  listed  other                                                               
prohibited  foods.     Ms.   Chlupach  explained   committee  the                                                               
Agriculture Act of  2014 (2014 Farm Bill)  included language that                                                               
allows for  the donation of  traditional and indigenous  foods to                                                               
certain  institutions; although  the Agriculture  Improvement Act                                                               
of 2018 (2018 Farm Bill)  does not include the enabling language,                                                               
there is  no problem because  the language has been  adopted into                                                               
Title  25 of  the U.S.  Code  (slides 14  and 15).   She  further                                                               
explained  in   2017,  the  Municipality  of   Anchorage  adopted                                                               
terminology related  to donating traditional foods  to facilities                                                               
(slide 16).   Ms.  Chlupach directed attention  to posters  and a                                                               
"toolkit," included  in the committee  packet, that  were created                                                               
by  a group  of  organizations  to clarify  the  food code  about                                                               
acceptable donations, food storage, and processing (slide 17).                                                                  
1:22:37 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. FOOTE advised  prior to enactment of the 2014  Farm Bill, the                                                               
Alaska Native  Medical Center (ANMC)  began working  with vendors                                                               
to  procure traditional  food items;  she noted  some traditional                                                               
foods  cannot  be  purchased  so   she  harvested  several  items                                                               
herself.     Items  that  can  be   purchased  include  reindeer,                                                               
fiddlehead ferns, beach  asparagus, salmon, and fish  heads.  Ms.                                                               
Foote   personally  harvested   items   such   as  spruce   tips,                                                               
dandelions, and  berries.  In  addition, the  Alaska Professional                                                               
Hunters Association  and others donate game  meat (slides 19-21).                                                               
She said there  are 32 ANMC traditional  foods donation locations                                                               
throughout the state that supply  foods and ingredients from many                                                               
regions  via partially-donated  shipping arrangements  (slides 22                                                               
and 23).   Slide 24 listed ANMC 2017 traditional  foods that were                                                               
donated by professional hunters,  recreational fishers, and other                                                               
sources.   In  2018,  donations included  harbor  seal; in  2019,                                                               
donations so  far include beach greens  (slides 25 and 26).   Ms.                                                               
Foote  described  several ANMC  menu  items  and how  to  prepare                                                               
herring eggs (slides 27-29).                                                                                                    
1:28:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. FOOTE  explained ANMC  obtains seal  meat from  a subsistence                                                               
hunter in  Ketchikan who teaches traditional  methods of hunting.                                                               
The  meat  is  shipped  to   ANMC  where  she  makes  and  serves                                                               
complimentary meals  of seal soup  to patients every  Tuesday, in                                                               
conjunction  with the  ANMC culture  committee (slide  30).   She                                                               
described additional  menu items, noting only  wild caught salmon                                                               
is served at  ANMC (slides 31-33).  Slides 34  and 35 illustrated                                                               
the ANMC patient menu which changes as items become available.                                                                  
1:32:27 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  TARR asked  whether reindeer  sausage was  made at  the                                                               
ANMC kitchen from donated products.                                                                                             
MS.  FOOTE said  donated products  are labeled  caribou, but  all                                                               
products  labeled  reindeer  are  purchased from  a  farm.    She                                                               
described  other menu  items that  are made  from donated  items.                                                               
Ms.  Foote  continued to  slide  36  and informed  the  committee                                                               
Southeast   Alaska   Regional  Health   Consortium   (SEARHC)/Mt.                                                               
Edgecumbe Hospital  implemented its traditional foods  program in                                                               
2017 with  a donation of  deer harvested by its  chef; additional                                                               
donations have included mountain  goat, fish, plants, and berries                                                               
(slide 37).                                                                                                                     
MS.  CHLUPACH directed  attention to  Utuqqanaat Inaat,  Maniilaq                                                               
Association's 18-bed,  long-term care facility in  Kotzebue, that                                                               
previously  was  a  senior  care  facility.    Due  to  differing                                                               
regulations between  senior care  and long-term  care facilities,                                                               
traditional foods  that were served  at the senior  care facility                                                               
were no  longer available, and the  elders longed to return  to a                                                               
menu  including traditional  foods.   In response,  DEC and  [the                                                               
Division  of  Health  Care Services,  Department  of  Health  and                                                               
Social Services]  directed that  the tundra should  be considered                                                               
the  elders'  garden  and  permitted  kitchens  were  allowed  to                                                               
receive traditional  game.   To provide the  game in  2015, plans                                                               
were made  by various organizations  for Maniilaq  Association to                                                               
build the Siglauq, a traditional  foods processing facility.  The                                                               
first  traditional menu  item  supplied by  the  Siglauq was  200                                                               
pounds of  muskox confiscated  from poachers  by the  Division of                                                               
Alaska  Wildlife  Troopers  (DWT), Department  of  Public  Safety                                                               
(slides 39-41).                                                                                                                 
1:41:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. CHLUPACH added  seal meat and seal oil are  offered to elders                                                               
at Niqipaq,  a monthly potluck  especially for elders  (slides 42                                                               
and  43).    Slide  44 pictured  a  wheelchair-accessible  tundra                                                               
garden built by  the Maniilaq Association.   She turned attention                                                               
to  schools  and  noted traditional  foods  are  challenging  for                                                               
schools  because  traditional foods  must  be  donated, thus  the                                                               
schools cannot be  reimbursed; however, donations can  be made by                                                               
commercial fleets directly to  commercial processors through Fish                                                               
to  School programs  in Sitka,  Cordova, Valdez,  Dillingham, and                                                               
Bristol Bay  (slide 46).  She  continued to the Alaska  Food Bank                                                               
and  coalition program,  Help Meat  (sic) the  Need, that  allows                                                               
hunters to donate wild game to  the Food Bank of Alaska, which is                                                               
then  processed into  ground meat,  packaged, and  transported by                                                               
Northern Air Cargo to Anchorage (slide 48).                                                                                     
1:45:38 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RASMUSSEN  asked whether  formula and  breast milk                                                               
can be transported by air cargo.                                                                                                
MS. CHLUPACH was  unsure and deferred to the Alaska  Food Bank or                                                               
ANMC.  She then related  inmates at the Department of Corrections                                                               
need the healing that is  provided by traditional foods; at Yukon                                                               
Kuskokwim Correctional Center  fish are donated to  the center to                                                               
minimize  food costs  and provide  traditional  foods to  inmates                                                               
(slide 50).   Ms. Chlupach returned to the issue  of seal oil and                                                               
advised in 2015, the  Seal Oil Task Force - formed  by a group of                                                               
Native  organizations and  state government  - sought  to develop                                                               
safety procedures for traditionally  rendered seal oil that would                                                               
allow the seal oil to  be offered to healthcare facilities, long-                                                               
term care  facilities, senior  meal programs,  and schools.   The                                                               
Maniilaq Association  began its own  seal oil project  with staff                                                               
at the University  of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF),  Kodiak Seafood and                                                               
Marine Science Center, who tested  pH and water content, and with                                                               
Professor  Eric Johnson,  University  of  Wisconsin, who  studied                                                               
samples of blubber and seal oil  related to botulism type E.  She                                                               
said the study  continues and is supported by DEC;  in fact, once                                                               
a safe  process is developed,  DEC will  offer a variance  of the                                                               
prohibition  [against seal  oil] to  the Utuqqanaat  Inaat elders                                                               
(slides 51-53).                                                                                                                 
1:50:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR  LINCOLN  commented  on  the  use of  seal  oil  in  his                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  RAUSCHER  asked  for  more  information  on  food                                                               
MS. FOOTE  acknowledged any food  item is  potentially hazardous,                                                               
for  example,  botulism  is found  in  improperly  packed  tomato                                                               
sauce.   Seal  oil is  processed  differently in  regions of  the                                                               
state and there  is a history of safely processed  of seal oil in                                                               
the  Kotzebue   area,  but  there  are   higher  occurrences  [of                                                               
contamination]  elsewhere.   She  cautioned  all food  processing                                                               
must eliminate opportunities for bacteria growth such E. coli.                                                                  
MS.  CHLUPACH  added  hazard   analysis  critical  control  point                                                               
(HACCP),  relates to  problems  during  the growing,  harvesting,                                                               
hunting, or consuming  of food products.  She said  seal oil is a                                                               
superfood  and   the  Maniilaq   Association  seeks   to  combine                                                               
thousands of years  of Native science with Western  science.  She                                                               
advised Alaska  has the highest  number of botulism cases  in the                                                               
U.S., if not in the world.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  RASMUSSEN asked  whether the  state utilizes  new                                                               
technology that can test for bacteria that cause food poisoning.                                                                
1:55:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  FOOTE said  no.   At ANMC,  all food  is screened,  and food                                                               
safety temperature  guidelines are observed; the  state has tools                                                               
to identify parasites in wild game  and fish.  The policy at ANMC                                                               
is that  donated food in a  suspect condition is not  served, but                                                               
may be donated to the zoo or returned to the land.                                                                              
1:57:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HANNAN  gave her personal experience  working as a                                                               
roadkill  salvage crew  and harvesting  and  delivering items  to                                                               
local food pantries.  She  asked whether there are commercial DEC                                                               
certified   meat  processors   in   Kotzebue,   Nome,  or   other                                                               
MS. FOOTE advised  organizations can write their  own policies as                                                               
to  how meat  is  processed, with  the exception  of  seal.   For                                                               
example, in Sitka, game is processed "in-house."                                                                                
MS. CHLUPACH described the policy  at SEARHC; she concluded there                                                               
are three  best practices for  processing:   in-house; processing                                                               
as done by ANMC; processing as done by the Maniilaq Association.                                                                
2:01:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. FOOTE further  described how the ANMC  program was envisioned                                                               
and advised each  concept must be suited to and  supported by the                                                               
local community.                                                                                                                
MS. CHLUPACH  related SEARHC educated DWT  on certain regulations                                                               
that were not understood, and now  they are "a great resource for                                                               
Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital."                                                                                                        
CO-CHAIR LINCOLN  questioned whether  there are more  barriers to                                                               
the use of Alaska's wild game and subsistence resources.                                                                        
CO-CHAIR TARR surmised  food sharing is common  in everyday life;                                                               
however, the sale of wild  [and home] products presents barriers.                                                               
She restated the undeniable health benefits of wild foods.                                                                      
2:05:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  CHLUPAC  agreed wild  foods  improve  the quality  of  life.                                                               
Slides 57-60  illustrated resources available to  support the use                                                               
of traditional foods;  she noted the most  importance resource is                                                               
the knowledge of  elders (slide 61).  Slide  62 listed supporters                                                               
of  the Alaska  Traditional Foods  Movement.   She closed  with a                                                               
quote from  the Traditional Food  Guide for Alaska  Native Cancer                                                               
Survivors, 2008 (slide 63).                                                                                                     
CO-CHAIR LINCOLN  asked how the  legislature can  remove barriers                                                               
at the state level.                                                                                                             
MS. CHLUPACH  recalled a  proposed bill  that would  help schools                                                               
offer   traditional   foods    without   having   to   relinquish                                                               
MS. FOOTE stressed  processing of the foods is  expensive and not                                                               
being able to  collect reimbursement is a  barrier to contractors                                                               
who provide food  services at schools; also,  contractors need to                                                               
be  informed   of  new  regulations.     Finally,  she  suggested                                                               
variances  should  be  available   for  fish  because  the  usual                                                               
practice is to  fillet fish; furthermore, she urged  for a system                                                               
that  would keep  bycatch in  Alaska  for processing  and use  by                                                               
2:13:27 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Resources Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:13 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Alaska Traditional Foods Movement Presentation House Resources Committee 3.18.19.pdf HRES 3/18/2019 1:00:00 PM
Traditional Foods
Traditional_Foods_Poster.pdf HRES 3/18/2019 1:00:00 PM
Traditional Foods
2015_Trad_Food_Toolkit (002).pdf HRES 3/18/2019 1:00:00 PM
Traditional Foods