After decades of decline, food’s share of personal spending holds steady

Since the turn of the century, Americans have spent roughly 10 percent of their disposable income on food each year, two decades of stability that may reflect a leveling-off of U.S. incomes, say two USDA economists. Their analysis provides context to the frequent boast by farm and food industry leaders, often joined by government officials, that Americans enjoy the safest and most affordable food supply in the world.

Presidential election should be followed by a national food strategy, says report

The coronavirus pandemic, which has disrupted food supplies and heightened food insecurity, should be the impetus for unified oversight of the food system, now splintered among dozens of regulatory agencies, said an "urgent call" for action from groups at the Harvard and Vermont law schools on Thursday.

Agriculture feels impact as pandemic reshapes U.S. diet, rattles producers

Americans will eat more chicken, already their favorite meat, as stay-at-home orders have consumers shopping at the supermarket rather than going to restaurants, said ag lender CoBank on Thursday in assessing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on food producers and processors. (No paywall)

Despite coronavirus worries, Europe’s food system is stable

The coronavirus has upended most aspects of life in Europe, but after a spate of hoarding early in the pandemic, shopping has returned to normal as food producers and retailers work to keep supply chains flowing and shelves stocked. This could be instructive to the United States, which is behind Europe in the progression of the disease.(No paywall)

Rural jobs wiped out by coronavirus, says survey

Fifteen percent of rural Americans surveyed in the past week said they had either lost their job or were laid off because of the coronavirus pandemic, and an additional 14 percent said they were worried they would lose their jobs, according to the results of a survey released on Thursday. (No paywall)

If farmworkers suffer a coronavirus outbreak, the nation’s food supply is at risk

In the coming weeks and months, tens of thousands of migrant farmworkers will arrive in agricultural centers across the nation, where they will live and work in conditions that are prime for a coronavirus outbreak. Yet despite the fact that these are the men and women Americans depend on to plant, tend, and harvest their food, "these workers and their advocates say that many of the farmers who employ them have provided virtually no information on how they can protect themselves, their co-workers, and their families from the coronavirus — creating the potential for a massive public-health and food-security crisis."(No paywall)

Empty shelves will soon be ‘a thing of the past,’ says grocery supply expert

As the novel coronavirus spreads, many people have stocked up on pantry items and paper products in anticipation of hunkering down at home for an extended period, creating temporary shortages of certain products. To better understand the grocery supply chain and how stores are stocked, FERN turned to Dr. Ananth Iyer, a professor of supply chain management at Purdue University and director of the university's Global Supply Chain Management Initiative. (No paywall)

Retailers, officials insist the food supply is strong as grocery stores are emptied

A recent surge of demand has emptied some grocery store shelves of staples, as shoppers concerned about the spread of the novel coronavirus prepare to self-isolate at home. But the U.S. has plenty of food and Americans should not panic, urged food retailers, producers, and the federal government over the weekend.(No paywall)

FDA, USDA pledge greater coordination on food safety

The leaders of the USDA and the FDA, which together oversee the U.S. food supply, signed a formal agreement at the White House to reduce regulatory overlap and improve the efficiency of the federal food safety system.

Bill would add USDA to U.S. review of foreign investors

Senate Judiciary chairman Charles Grassley is sponsoring a bill to make USDA a permanent member of the U.S. panel that decides if foreign purchases of U.S. companies impinge on national security. "This bill will raise the stature of agriculture ... so we don't make the mistake of selling too much control of our food supply to foreign countries," Grassley told reporters.