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State Departments of Agriculture are Working Together and Independently to Maintain the American Food Supply and Keep it Safe During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Monday, April 27, 2020

State and local governments, as well as private companies, are working individually and collectively to assure an uninterrupted, safe food supply as the federal government continues in a supporting role in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Officials in all fifty states and four U.S. territories belong to the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA), which for over one hundred years has worked on shaping and implementing federal food and agricultural policies and regulations.

NASDA’s Amanda Culp contributed an article published April 26, 2020 in Food Safety News that highlights key measures various state departments of agriculture are taking to protect the food supply.

  • All NASDA Members are working with their states’ governors and local law enforcement to assure the food and agricultural workforce stays healthy and that individuals are able to get to their jobsites.

  • State Departments of Agriculture have continued the pace of food safety, dairy, and plant inspections, and laboratory workers are adjusting work schedules to adhere to social distancing policies while assuring that food testing continues.

  • Kentucky has temporarily relaxed income requirements for receiving food from food banks and Florida has established an online list, updated daily, for Florida farmers to post produce that is available for foodbanks since the intended markets no longer exist for crops planted to supply hotels, cruise ships, and restaurants.

  • NASDA assisted the agricultural community in encouraging the U.S. State Department to expedite processing of H-2A applications and lift in-person interview requirements for both new and returning workers so that farmers have access to the needed labor.

  • Florida, Texas, Nevada, and New Jersey worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on new ways to get nutritious meals to children who rely on school lunches.

  • NASDA is working to keep farmers’ markets and other forms of community supported agriculture operational.

  • States are modifying their training and certification procedures to keep pesticide applicators safe without compromising education and licensing requirements.

  • Wisconsin has taken action to protect consumers against price gouging.

  • Animal health inspections and disease response continue to operate with slight modifications that comply with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

  • States are also issuing reminders to the food and agriculture community of guidance related to handwashing, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders and cautioning against hoarding food or other supplies.

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