Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) introduced the Food Supply Protection Act of 2020 on Wednesday to help protect the food supply after the COVID-19 crisis has placed an unprecedented strain on farmers, workers, food banks and families.
“The COVID-19 crisis has tested the strength of our nation’s food supply chain, creating a ripple effect that’s harming our families, farmers and workers,” Stabenow said in a release. “This bill will help strengthen our food supply by redirecting food to families and helping farmers and processors retool their operations.”
The shift in demand from restaurants and food service to retail and food donations has caused bottlenecks in the supply chain. This shift in demand, combined with outbreaks of COVID-19 in food processing plants, has slowed production across the country.
Stabenow authored this legislation to help fill the gaps in the broken food supply chain, reduce food waste, and help farmers, workers, processors, food banks, and families in need, the release said.
The Food Supply Protection Act will support food banks and non-profits to help increase their capacity and address growing demand, strengthen food partnerships to prevent food waste and feed families and protect workers and retool small and medium-sized food processors.
In addition to Stabenow, the bill is co-sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
The Food Supply Protection Act is supported by more than 40 food and agricultural organizations, including the National Pork Producers Council, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association, the National Milk Producers Association and the Michigan Pork Producers Association.
“Dairy farmers and manufacturers continue to endure significant headwinds on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, and American households across the country are facing massive economic pain and uncertainty,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation.