Food Shortages During Pandemic? NOT!

April 21, 2020

Rest assured, our nation has an adequate supply of food. Farmers are among the essential critical workers during the COVID-19 pandemic who will continue to grow safe and nutritious foods for families.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides the following information about food during the pandemic.

There are no food shortages.

There are no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock. Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the U.S. and there are currently no wide-spread disruptions reported in the supply chain.

The USDA and the Food and Drug Administration are closely monitoring the food supply chain for any shortages in collaboration with industry and our federal and state partners. We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores.

We continue to ensure access to food.

USDA is monitoring the situation closely in collaboration with our federal and state partners. The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is ready to assist in the government-wide effort to ensure all Americans have access to food in times of need.

In the event of an emergency or disaster situation, Food and Nutrition Service programs are just one part of a much larger government-wide coordinated response. All of our programs, including SNAP, WIC, and the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, have flexibilities and contingencies built-in to allow us to respond to on-the-ground realities and take action as directed by Congress.

USDA food purchases will continue.

The AMS Commodity Procurement Program (CPP) will remain fully operational and plans to continue to work with federal, state and local partners to purchase and distribute food to participants in domestic and international nutrition assistance programs.

However, many schools and other institutions are closed across the country, and there may be other disruptions at warehouses, ports, and distribution centers. This may result in requests to delay or divert deliveries or provide other flexibilities.

Farmers are considered Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.

 As we all know, agriculture is vital to our country, and will play a critical role during the COVID-19 response. In fact, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency lists Food and Agricultural Workers as being among the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers for the COVID-19 response. It also lists the agricultural sector among 16 critical infrastructure sectors.

In addition to providing safe and nutritious food for American families, the agricultural sector also accounts for roughly one-fifth of our nation’s economy. To learn more about the important role the food and agricultural sector plays in the COVID-19 response, please visit