House Democrats, José Andrés and former Agriculture secretaries push plan to protect food supply
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) teamed up with celebrity chef José Andrés and former Cabinet secretaries on Friday to push her plan to safeguard the food supply during the coronavirus pandemic, including redirecting food surplus and helping impacted farmers.
DeLauro was joined by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), former Agriculture Secretaries Tom Vilsack and Dan Glickman and Consumer Reports to promote the plan. She sent details to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a letter on Friday.
The letter calls for a public-private partnership to create a detailed food distribution plan in order to avoid a surplus of goods intended for restaurants, schools and hotels. It also calls for the creation of an intergovernmental task force to protect food workers.
President Trump signed an executive order on Tuesday to keep meat processing facilities open during the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to secure the food supply after multiple meat packing plants closed due to virus outbreaks.
Recent estimates have indicated that meat production capacity nationwide could be reduced by as much as 80 percent due to the coronavirus outbreak.
DeLauro’s plan also calls for expanding assistance to family farmers and ranchers affected by the pandemic and for solutions to use excess food to feed Americans in need.
“Too many people across the country are struggling to get food in their communities—at grocery stores and food banks,” DeLauro said in a statement. “At the same time, farmers are plowing crops under, euthanizing pigs, and dumping milk. This is a massive failure in the food supply chain, and only the federal government has the scale and resources to solve the problem.”
Vilsack served as Agriculture secretary under President Obama, and Glickman served under President Clinton.