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Wolf Administration outlines steps to ensure food security during pandemic

Governor Tom Wolf said the state Agriculture Department is monitoring potential shortages across the state.

  • Rachel McDevitt/StateImpact Pennsylvania
A display case sits empty inside the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg.

 Kate Landis / PA Post

A display case sits empty inside the Broad Street Market in Harrisburg.

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(Harrisburg) — The Wolf Administration is relaxing regulations and issuing guidelines to help shore up the food system in Pennsylvania and prevent hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said Wednesday his department adopted a temporary policy from the Food and Drug Administration meant to cut down on food waste by letting manufacturers distribute foods intended for restaurant use to grocery stores.  The policy suspends nutrition label requirements for those products. 

“We want to make sure that the restaurants can use it, that grocery stores can use it, but at the same time that the consumer feels safe that that item has gone through an inspection and is good to consume,” Redding said. 

Because of the business shutdown order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of people are seeking food assistance for the first time.  

In response, state officials got USDA approval to rework school meal programs and ease paperwork requirements for people turning to food banks for help 

The commonwealth’s also giving money to charitable food groups and working with farmers to donate excess crops.  

Governor Tom Wolf said his administration is monitoring potential shortages across the state.  

“If we see a problem then we make sure that we are rushing resources whether it’s staffing, volunteers, money, or food to places that need it,” he said.

His administration has issued guidelines for safe working environments on farms and in food processing plants.  

But, Wolf said that the responsibility ultimately rests with employers to make workers feel safe enough to keep the system moving.  

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