CMI, along with canned fruit and vegetable companies and their can suppliers, sent a letter to numerous government agencies asking for regulatory relief and assistance.
Companies that provide the vast majority of America’s canned and frozen fruits and vegetables are committed to providing the produce products that America needs while following protocols that have been reviewed by federal agencies to ensure employee and broader public health protection. In the letter, the group requested:
1. Federal coordination with state and local health authorities to ensure that they understand and are strongly encouraged to follow standard protocols reviewed by federal public health agencies. The objective of this coordination is to avoid misunderstandings and ad hoc regulatory requirements that may be imposed by well-meaning local public health officials, but without access to the latest and best science.
2. A federal rapid response capability to promptly address situations where state and local authorities are disrupting operations of fruit and vegetable processing facilities in a manner that appears to be inconsistent with standard protocols.
The letter request proactive education of federal and state and local responders to this important industry’s plight and a rapid response is essential to processing of this year’s crops of fruits and vegetables for canning or freezing. Without these measures, the group is convinced that direct federal intervention will be required to avoid fruit and vegetable crops rotting in the fields due to regulatory confusion and closure of processing facilities, reducing their availability to the American people.