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[email protected]: Farm aid coming? | Food safety threatened | Fresh vending feeds health care workers

Getty Images Dairy farmers have been losing money for years because the demand for milk products hasn't met the supply being produced.
Each day at 5 p.m. we collect the five top food and supplement headlines of the day, making it easy for you to catch up on today's most important natural products industry news.

$15.5B farm-aid package could be unveiled this week

The U.S. Department of Agriculture could spend up to $15.5 billion during phase one of a plan to prevent food shortages caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters is reporting, citing unnamed sources. Payments, which will be directed to farmers and ranchers, will come from the $23.5 billion that Congress previously approved in the stimulus bill. Additional aspects of the program likely won't be announced until summer. Read more at Reuters

 

Rollback of food and farm rules could endanger the food system

The federal government has suspended many of the regulations that apply to industrial farms and are meant to protect the public from foodborne illnesses and industrial pollution. Routine inspections have been canceled, but that might be one of the more minor disruptions to the country's food safety system; one of the bigger ones is that the states' public health departments, which typically deal with food safety issues, are tied up responding to COVID-19 issues. Read more at Civil Eats…  

 

Fresh-food vending machines supporting front-line pandemic workers

The $26 billion vending-machine industry already was moving to fresh and healthy foods before the coronavirus pandemic turned up. Now, those contactless, healthier meals are feeding hospital employees who are fighting to save COVIC-19 patients. Farmer's Fridge, which has machines in nearly 100 hospitals on the East Coast and Midwest, offers restaurant-worthy salads, pasta bowls and sandwiches, as well as snacks. During the pandemic, the company has reduced its prices 25%. Read more at Bloomberg

 

Wisconsin farm bankruptcies more than double from 2019

Dairy farmers have been losing money for years because the demand for milk products hasn't met the supply being produced. Now that coronavirus has force the shutdown of restaurants, schools, sports and other public events, the dairy industry is devastated. Since the beginning of the year, 36 Wisconsin dairy farmers have filed for bankruptcy, compared with 57 total last year. Read more at Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

Federal government watching to protect essential workers from exploitation

The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission announced Monday that they are watching employers in essential businesses—including hospitals and retail food stores—to make sure they don't collaborate to push down wages during the pandemic. Such collaboration would violate antitrust laws. Read more at The New York Times

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