Expert Pitch

Rutgers Experts Can Discuss Food Shortages Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 21, 2020) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick experts William J. Bamka and Michelle Infante-Casella are available for interviews on food shortages and disruptions in the food supply chain during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both work in the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

“Why are there food shortages right now in certain areas? How can food be scarce when media reports reveal milk being dumped on the farm or at processing plants? Why are vegetable fields, ready to be harvested, being plowed under in Florida and California? The situation at first glance makes no sense. Why is the food being produced and plentiful not available where needed?” the professors wrote in an article on a Rutgers website.

“The answer is sudden disruption of distribution channels as a result of COVID-19. The market vanished quickly with the widescale closures and service reductions across the commercial food industry. Essentially product demand has been lost or greatly reduced…. Farmers and food processors may lack the ability to package produce and dairy products for retail markets. In addition, many do not have sales contacts to market product to an unfamiliar industry segment, even if demand exists. For vegetable farmers in states with crops in the ground, peak harvests began as the pandemic started. The food distribution systems did not have time to realign.”

Here’s a link to the article: https://sebsnjaesnews.rutgers.edu/2020/04/u-s-fresh-produce-and-milk-disruptions-and-the-new-jersey-farm-outlook/

Bamka, an agricultural agent and associate professor with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Burlington County

Infante-Casella, an agricultural agent and professor with Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Gloucester County

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Broadcast interviews: Rutgers University has broadcast-quality TV and radio studios available for remote live or taped interviews with Rutgers experts. For more information, contact Neal Buccino at [email protected]

ABOUT RUTGERS—NEW BRUNSWICK
Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It has an internationally acclaimed faculty, 12 degree-granting schools and the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse student body.




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