Former Agriculture Secretary: 'Cascading series of events' disrupting the US food chain

Former Agriculture Secretary: 'Cascading series of events' disrupting the US food chain
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Former Secretary of Agriculture Tom VilsackThomas James VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE said Monday that a "cascading series of events" was disrupting the U.S. food supply chain and threatened to impact millions of Americans.

In an interview with CNN, Vilsack pointed to a shutdown of public schools, universities and even some restaurants that served as a source of food for many Americans that had since been "redirected" amid the coronavirus outbreak.

"Well, it's a cascading series of events here that's really disrupting the U.S. food chain," Vilsack said. "You start ending school lunch programs, universities shut down, food service shuts down..at the end of the day you've basically got a tremendous amount of the overall supply of food having to be redirected."


"[This is] at a time when people are feeling a little bit of a pinch, in terms of the economy. Many unemployed people can't access the grocery store [or] go to a food bank," he added.

Vilsack also pointed to grocery stores and other food service businesses being unable to fully operate at capacity due to workers getting sick or fearing coming to work due to the spread of the coronavirus.

"And now you have the cascading event of these facilities not having enough workers, or having sick workers, and having to shut down," he said.

Vilsack previously served as secretary of agriculture for the duration of former President Obama's terms in the White House, and before that was governor of Iowa for eight years.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpVenezuela judge orders prison time for 6 American oil executives Trump says he'll leave White House if Biden declared winner of Electoral College The Memo: Biden faces tough road on pledge to heal nation MORE held a call with top executives from the food service and retail industries in March, where they discussed efforts to keep U.S. supply chains from being disrupted.

States around the country have also classified grocery stores as essential businesses as others are shuttered due to efforts to prevent the virus from spreading, while Minnesota has taken things a step further and classified grocery store employees as "emergency tier 2" workers, mandating that they be granted access to free child care during the epidemic.