United Fresh and a number of industry partners presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture a comprehensive Produce Market Stabilization Program to immediately support critical financial needs in the produce supply chain. This was a major undertaking to understand the wide-ranging financial impact this crisis is having on our entire industry.
With so much misinformation out there about food and packaging, we appreciated FDA Deputy Commissioner Frank Yiannis for making personal comments to the media Thursday, and the new public service announcement posted by FDA. Frank repeats the fact that there's no evidence COVID-19 spreads via food, nor is food packaging associated with transmission. Be sure to get this information and video to all of your teams and associates.
I want to focus on the emergency relief package that is progressing toward final agreement in Washington, DC. While not a done deal until final passage by the House and Senate with the President’s signature, the basic agreement reached is essential to shoring up companies throughout our supply chain that have been hit the hardest by the shutdown of the out-of-home foodservice channel. That includes growers, shippers and distributors alike.
Thank you for your continued amazing effort to keep the food supply chain moving to feed Americans. As I’ve said many times these past few days to government, the media and even our own members, it’s unfathomable to be shifting as much as 40% to 50% of the food supply from the foodservice channel to retail outlets. And that’s in the midst of a crisis that is telling people to stay home, shutting institutions that facilitate our supply chain, and ignoring that the very companies essential to putting food on the table are bleeding cash needed to stay in business.
It’s important that we all continue to recognize the commitment of our workers from farms through every step in the chain to our consumers. They have kids out of school; they are nervous about their own health; but they are coming to work and keeping the food supply moving.