US food organizations urge government relief

Sixteen United States food organizations are urging Congress to provide relief for their employees, including providing direct payments.

These “essential critical infrastructure” workers should be exempt from federal taxes and have immediate adjustments to their tax withholding or receive direct payments, the International Foodservice Distributors Association (IFDA), the United Fresh Produce Association, and several other groups said in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other legislators.

“The essential critical industries working to care for, feed, and protect Americans, in addition to performing countless other jobs fundamental to the continuity of the nation’s necessary functions, are selflessly serving the nation during this time of crisis. Workers in these critical industries are serving even as they face challenges including lack of childcare, transportation, health concerns and exhaustion,” the groups said.

Already, business at some of the country’s 15,000 food distributors has dropped by as much as 70 percent, IFDA President Mark Allen told the Times Herald-Record.

IFDA is also asking for USD 24 billion (EUR 22 billion) in federally backed loans as part of its relief packages “so we can remain viable,” Allen told SeafoodSource.

Previous coronavirus relief legislation “did not provide economic relief for our industry, or most others,” Allen said. “The bill that is currently being debated, phase three of the economic relief efforts, is the bill that hopefully will provide some economic relief to the business community.”


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