WASHINGTON — Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association, released the following statement March 14 on COVID-19 and the availability of dairy products across the nation:
"The International Dairy Foods Association has been closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to ensure the safety and availability of dairy products throughout the nation during this time of emergency. Our members, who represent the full dairy supply chain from the dairy cooperatives to dairy processors to the retailers, report at this time that the nation’s dairy industry is experiencing no interruptions and is continuing to supply American consumers with affordable, healthy milk and dairy products even as demand surges.
"Our association is in close contact with federal agencies and the White House to ensure transportation routes and supply lines in different regions of the country remain free of disruption. These routes are crucial to commerce and public safety and must remain unobstructed. At present, at retail facilities across the country, milk — a nutritious family staple — remains affordable and available. We are working closely with the USDA to remain flexible in how dairy processors get milk to schools and school districts who are continuing to provide meals to the millions of children who need them each day, despite closures, through distribution at schools, churches, parks and other community sites.
"And we are working to ensure dairy processors across the nation have up-to-date information about the swift and dynamic nature of COVID-19, including the latest guidance on prevention, so that they can continue to protect the health and safety of their workforce, their goods, and their customers, ensuring our nation can remain food secure throughout this situation.
"In times like these, we are most grateful for our dairy farmers and dairy processors for their great efficiency, commitment to safety, and ability to get affordable, nutritious milk where it is needed."
The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, D.C., represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industry, which supports more than 3 million jobs that generate $159 billion in wages and $620 billion in overall economic impact. IDFA’s diverse membership ranges from multinational organizations to single-plant companies, from dairy companies and cooperatives to food retailers and suppliers, all on the cutting edge of innovation and sustainable business practices. Together, they represent 90 percent of the milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and cultured products, and dairy ingredients produced and marketed in the United States and sold throughout the world. Delicious, safe and nutritious, dairy foods offer unparalleled health and consumer benefits to people of all ages.