April 30, 2020

US senator urges frozen, canned produce producers be included in stay-open order

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana) is urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to take steps to protect the supply of frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana)

Braun wrote a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue April 29 to ask that canneries and frozen food producers be added to President Donald Trump’s order that meat and poultry processing plants stay open, reported The Hill.

Braun noted that the window for harvesting and processing many fruits and vegetables is small.

“For example, our nation’s annual supply of canned and frozen corn, green beans, tomatoes, peaches and peas are harvested and packed within the span of two to three months,” he wrote in the letter, according to the report.

The USDA announced the $19 billion Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) on April 17, which includes provisions for specialty crop, livestock and dairy producers. The USDA also is allocating $3 billion for the purchase of agricultural products for those in need, including “fresh produce.”

While the lack of foodservice demand is in large part what is backing up produce meant for processing, there has been little in the way of assistance to processors to help get supply-and-demand moving again.

More from The Hill can be found here.




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