Take the RFS off the menu

The RFS’ corn price spike has set off a multi-billion-dollar chain reaction throughout the U.S. economy that heaps additional food and commodity costs on farmers, food manufacturers, chain restaurants, food retailers and, ultimately, American consumers and families.  Simply put, the RFS is costing Americans more to put food on the table, whether from a chain restaurant or a supermarket store.  

It is time for Congress to take the RFS off the menu by repealing this misguided law.

The RFS mandate creates an artificial use for corn which is the foundation of America’s food chain and creates a chain reaction which artificially and unfairly increases corn’s demand, which in turn substantially raises its price.  Since enactment of the RFS in 2005, the price of a bushel of corn has risen 300 percent! Today, over 42 percent of the corn produced in the U.S. is now diverted from food and feed to make fuel, and the number continues to climb each and every year.  That’s saying something when you consider that the U.S. is currently the world’s largest producer of corn.

ADVERTISEMENT
The RFS is not just saddling Americans families with increased costs, if allowed to continue, it will hurts small business owners and operators by curtailing expansion, job growth and competiveness.  

A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers revealed that chain restaurants face an additional 10 percent in food costs annually because of the RFS and found that the mandate increases all types of food and commodity prices, driving up the price of pork by 15 percent, eggs by 11 percent, potatoes by 13 percent and corn products by more than 26 percent.   The thousands of local small businesses owners who operate chain restaurants pay an additional $3.2 billion in food costs every year due to the RFS mandate.  While many of these small businesses are bearing the burden (an average of $18,000 per year per restaurant) and absorbing the increased costs, others aren’t able to withstand the pressure

This situation is unsustainable but is one that can be fixed by Congress. 

Throughout America, chain restaurants are neighborhood-based, job-creating small businesses that are more than just restaurants -- they serve as important partners who support local organizations and invest in their communities. 

Our small businesses and food chain partners are mobilizing to bring the message about food fairness to lawmakers in Washington in the coming weeks and months.  Americans already have a hard enough time feeding their families.  Government should not burden them even more. 

It is time to put food first and to take the RFS off the menu.   

Green is the executive director of the National Council of Chain Restaurants, the leading trade association exclusively representing chain restaurant companies.