Stabenow introduces bill to ‘protect the food supply’ through grants, purchases
Senate Agriculture Committee ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and other Democrats on Wednesday introduced the Food Supply Protection Act, which would provide food banks and nonprofits with infrastructure grants that can be used for additional cold storage and refrigeration, transportation and personal protective equipment, rental costs, and additional use of commercial and community infrastructure; provide grants and reimbursements to create partnerships with organizations serving at-risk populations or facilities that have unused capacity due to the COVID-19 emergency and could use a variety of foods; and grants, loans and loan guarantees to retool small and medium-sized food processors by upgrading machinery, temporary cold storage, purchasing personal protective equipment and test kits, and cleaning.
“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 news release. “This bill will help strengthen our food supply by redirecting food to families and helping farmers and processors retool their operations.”
The bill was endorsed by more than 40 food and agricultural organizations including Feeding America, the James Beard Foundation, Chef José Andrés, National Farmers Union, the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, the National Milk Producers Association, United Fresh, and the United Farm Workers Foundation.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created disruptions in the food supply chain and posed a serious threat to the health and safety of workers at food processing plants,” said Brian Ronholm, director of food policy at Consumer Reports. “This bill will help stabilize the food supply chain during a time when many families are struggling financially, and provide important funding to allow food processing facilities to purchase protective equipment, test kits and cleaning supplies to protect frontline workers.”
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