Arlington, VA - U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson issued the following statement regarding the statement today from USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service confirming the agency is prepared to “take all steps necessary” to ensure grain inspections will continue despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Wheat importers around the world trust the United States as a reliable supplier.
"One of the foundations of that earned trust comes from the assurance provided by the official inspection process and certification performed by the Federal Grain Inspection Service that accompanies every cargo exported.
"We are pleased to see reassurance from USDA that it will do all it can to ensure that the U.S. wheat store will remain open during this time of global uncertainty.
"U.S. Wheat Associates will continue to monitor supply chains, inspection services and do our part to ensure customers can receive the wheat they need.”
The full Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) statement can be found here: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDAAMS/bulletins/281851c
Statement to Industry
March 16, 2020 The U.S. Department of Agriculture is rising to meet the challenges associated with the new coronavirus disease, Covid-19.
As leaders of USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Agricultural Marketing Service, we can assure you that the agencies are committed to ensuring the health and safety of our employees while still providing the timely delivery of the services to maintain the movement of America’s food supply from farm to fork.
These agencies are prepared to utilize their authority and all administrative means and flexibilities to address staffing considerations.
Field personnel will be working closely with establishment management and state and local health authorities to handle situations as they arise in your community.
As always, communication between industry and government will be key.
We are all relying on early and frequent communication with one another to overcome challenges as they arise.
In this time of much uncertainty, we know that many of you have questions about how the department will continue to ensure that grading and inspection personnel are available.
We have all seen how consumers have reacted to the evolving coronavirus situation and how important access to food is to a sense of safety and wellbeing.
It is more important than ever that we assure the American public that government and industry will take all steps necessary to ensure continued access to safe and wholesome USDA-inspected products.
As we come together as a country to address this public health threat, know that USDA remains committed to working closely with industry to fulfill our mission of ensuring the safety of the U.S. food supply and protecting agricultural health.
Dr. Mindy Brashears
USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety
USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs