Dark times for dairy lovers in the Sunshine State: The milk has dried up for quarantined Floridians, via retail purchase limits.
As demand is artificially choked out, gallons of the white stuff are being dumped, even before making it to market.
Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried pleaded for reason Friday, mediating in favor of milk flowing freely to Florida families.
A release from Fried’s office said she’d talked to Publix, Wal-Mart, and Whole Foods, urging them to remove quantity limits on retail buys.
“We’re doing everything we can to support Florida’s dairy farmers and processors during this unprecedented challenge,” the Commissioner said.
“With decreases in foodservice demand, we’re asking retailers to end consumer milk purchase limits, we’re working with federal and state agencies to increase their purchases of Florida milk, and we’re working hard to help our dairy producers move their products to market,” Fried said.
“Our dairy farmers and processors need our support now more than ever, and we’re working to provide them solutions,” said Zachary Conlin, Bureau Chief of Dairy Industry for FDACS.
“From connecting processors with cold storage providers and finding new ways to get milk to schools and consumers, we’re trying every day to help Florida’s dairy producers weather the storm,” Conlin vowed.
While the USDA has moved toward ensuring milk producers are not “inappropriately penalized,” federal guidance does not address the retailer caps.
Fried’s movement on the milk front continues a recent trend of fighting to bring Florida’s agricultural commodities to consumers who thirst and hunger for the Fresh from Florida experience.
Earlier this week, the Commissioner pushed for easier access to eggs, issuing an Executive Order timed to accommodate the increased demand of these unprecedented times.
“During Commissioner Fried’s emergency order, packages of shell eggs will not be required to have printed certain information such as date of pack, grade, and size, although retailers will provide in-store statements with the information typically required,” a Tuesday release from Fried’s office says.
With the United States Department of Agriculture green lighting these relaxed guidelines, Fried and her counterparts nationwide can continue to push for solutions for commodities with finite shelf lives.