Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) sent a letter to the Donald Trump administration on Wednesday, urging him to make the canned fruit and vegetable supply a part of America’s critical infrastructure.
President Trump announced on Tuesday that he would sign an executive order declaring meat processing plants part of critical infrastructure. Trump said he would use his authority under the Defense Production Act to enforce the order. The order will keep the companies open but also provide protective gear for employees as well as guidance for how to keep their companies safe to operate.
Sen. Braun sent a letter to the Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, urging him and the Trump administration to take similar action to protect the nation’s canned and frozen fruit and vegetable supply chain.
“As American citizens do their part to help slow the spread of COVID-19 through social distancing and other measures, it remains critical that our nation’s canneries and frozen food suppliers are able to keep shelves stocked with a full supply of non-perishable foods,” Braun wrote to Perdue.
This industry operates on extremely short harvest and processing windows. It is particularly vulnerable to shortages in labor and personal protective equipment (PPE), or other regulatory and administrative barriers that could disrupt the harvest window. For example, our nation’s annual supply of canned and frozen corn, green beans, tomatoes, peaches and peas are harvested and packed within the span of two to three months.
Section 1 of the President’s April 28 Executive Order Delegating Authority Under the DPA with Respect to Food Supply Chain Resources During the National Emergency Caused by the Outbreak of COVID-19 provides you the authority to “identify additional specific food supply chain resources” that require continued operation during this unprecedented national emergency.
“I urge you to use this authority to ensure that our nation’s supply chain of canned and frozen fruit and vegetables remains secure,” Braun wrote.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.