"With food insecurity in New York reaching disturbing, historic highs and food banks facing extreme shortages of kosher meals, many families are at risk of hunger and malnutrition," Gillibrand said. "We must take steps to help the neediest observant families and children get access to nutritious food during these difficult times."

Kosher foods are those prepared according to Jewish dietary law, which among other things forbids pork and other foods, and prohibits the consumption of meat and dairy together.

Halal foods are those prepared according to Muslim dietary law. These rules also prohibit pork, and require animals to be slaughtered in specific ways.

The bill, S. 3632 in the Senate and H.R. 6600 in the House, would amend the Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 to add a section requiring the Secretary of Agriculture to implement a plan to buy more Kosher and Halal food from producers, as long as the food is comparably priced. It would also require the Secretary to adjust the labeling of commodities to ensure Kosher and Halal food bank operators can identify these commodities.

The Emergency Food Assistance Act authorizes the Secretary to portion out excess food to emergency food organizations, charities, children's groups and other entities.