Food chain return to 'normal' is slow, but will happen


The coronavirus crisis is far from over, but the food supply chain has adapted effectively, according to Clay Detlefsen, chief counsel for the National Milk Producers Federation and the private-sector chair of the Food and Agricultural Sector Coordinating Council.

Clay Detlefsen

Early challenges in acquiring enough Personal Protective Equipment and redesigning workplaces to keep workers safe have been largely met, but the continued circulation of the virus itself makes it challenging for businesses to be completely confident disruptions may be avoided, Detlefsen said. Progress continues in making sure supplies are manufactured in adequate quantities, as well as in understanding how the virus is spread and how to prevent it.

“We’ve got the food industry on the right track. It wasn’t easy. It won’t be easy to keep us there, especially if this mushrooms this fall with the flu virus mixing into the equation,” Detlefsen said. “We’ve got our challenges ahead for sure. There’s no reason to celebrate, but there’s no reason to be pessimistic either. We will get through this.” 

The Food and Agricultural Sector Coordinating Council was set up after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks to share information between government agencies and private businesses during crises that affect the U.S. food-supply chain.