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Amit Kheradia
Amit Kheradia
Education and Technical Support Manager

USDA Unveils Food Systems Transformation Framework to Balance Efficiency with Resiliency

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced the USDA’s new comprehensive framework in early June 2022. The framework aims to strengthen the food supply chain and transform food systems to be fairer, more competitive, and more resilient, and its announcement comes on the heels of two years of the food industry struggling with pandemic-era supply chain issues.(1)


“We need to be able to balance the efficiency [of our systems] with resiliency,” Vilsack said in his transformative message during a panel discussion at Georgetown University in Washington D.C. (2) Vilsack highlighted that learning from the recent supply chain disruptions and creating a stronger food system are the key needs of the moment, and they’re being embodied in the goals of USDA’s Food System Transformation Framework:

  • Build a more resilient food supply chain that provides more and better market options for consumers and producers while reducing carbon pollution
  • Create a fairer food system that combats market dominance and helps producers and consumers gain more power in the marketplace by creating newer and better local market options
  • Make nutritious food more accessible and affordable for consumers
  • Emphasize equity of resource distributions

Through the funding provided by the American Rescue Plan Act and other relief legislation, the USDA intends to invest in crucial programs to support the systems included in this new framework:

Food Production

• Up to $300M in a new Organic Transition Initiative to provide support for farmers and ranchers who wish to transition to organic production
• Up to $75M to support urban agriculture

Food Processing

  • $100M to support the Food Supply Chain Loan Guarantee Program that will back private lenders that invest in independently owned supply chain infrastructure projects
  • Up to $375M to support meat and poultry processing expansion programs and projects
  • $25M for developing meat and poultry processing capacity technical assistance network programs
  • Up to $275M in partnership with lenders to address the credit access gaps in meat and poultry processing projects
  • Up to $100M to support the development of well-trained workers and safer workplaces in the processing sector
  • $200M to support food safety certification for Specialty Crops Program operations that incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses
  • Up to $600M to support food supply infrastructure that is not covered by meat and poultry processing programs

Food Distribution and Aggregation

  • $400M to create regional food business centers that will provide coordination, technical assistance, and capacity-building support to small and mid-size food and farm businesses
  • $60M to leverage commodity purchases through Farm-to-School programs that increase markets for farmers via child nutrition programs that provide children healthy, fresh food
  • Up to $90M to prevent and reduce food loss and waste
  • Additional $130M to support the Local Agricultural Marketing Program that expands opportunities for local and regional food producers to sell to institutional settings

Markets and Consumers

  • Additional $155M to the Healthy Food Financing Initiative that supports communities lacking adequate, affordable access to healthy food
  • Additional $50M to the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program that increases access for senior citizens to locally grown fruit and vegetables
  • Additional $40M to the GusNIP Produce Prescriptions Program to combat prevalent health conditions emanating from nutrient-deficient diets
  • $25M to support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) improvements that provide nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families
  • $100M to create a new Healthy Food Incentive Fund to support the school food authorities in their efforts to improve the nutritional quality of school meals for children

The USDA’s Food Systems Transformation Framework does not change the foundational structures or practices of the American food system, but instead intends to strengthen critical program delivery components. One example is the expansion and modernization of meat and poultry processing programs: The USDA-FSIS protects public health by ensuring the safety, integrity, and legality of meat, poultry, and egg products. (3) However, the new framework does not replace (but, in fact, should support) USDA’s Salmonella Reduction Roadmap, which was published in 2020 (4).

Along with other industry stakeholders, Remco supports the regulatory initiatives for improving food safety and sanitation in the food facilities and establishments. We do this, in great part, by supplying high-quality, durable, FDA-compliant, and hygienically-designed cleaning and material handling tools – such as brushes, squeegees, scoops, and many more – necessary for maintaining sanitary conditions in FSIS-regulated establishments, and other hygiene-sensitive facilities. For more information, contact us.

References:
1. USDA Announces Framework for Shoring Up the Food Supply Chain and Transforming the Food System to Be Fairer, More Competitive, More Resilient | USDA
2. Vilsack to Deliver Address Announcing USDA Framework to Transform the Food System - YouTube
3. Home | Food Safety and Inspection Service (usda.gov)
4. FSIS Unveils a New Roadmap for Salmonella Reduction (vikan.com)

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