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The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) has requested that Congress reform the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), cautioning that without action, food manufacturers will have to deal with further cost increases and consumers will pay more for food.
The RFS mandates the annual production of 13 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol, an amount that consumes about 40 percent of U.S. corn production.
At separate briefings held for the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, AFFI VP of Government Affairs Kristin Wilcox said: “In our view on behalf of the frozen food industry, the RFS is unworkable and should be revisited by Congress. Our position is very simple: Food should be used to fuel bodies, not vehicle engines.”
Noting that rising corn prices put pressure on the cost of producing a broad variety of foods and result in higher consumer food bills, Wilcox continued: “Countless frozen food products and prepared meals are made with meat proteins, dairy, wheat, soybeans and corn. The availability and price of these inputs are all negatively impacted by the RFS.” Food costs are expected to rise 3 percent to 4 percent this year, according to McLean, Va.-based AFFI.
“Left unchanged, the RFS will continue to divert more and more of the nation’s corn crop, and more farm acreage, away from food production and into the production of motor fuel,” observed Wilcox. “You don’t have to be an economist to recognize that this trend will cause further food cost spikes, a most unwelcome prospect for U.S. food makers and the consuming public. Trying to change the price at the pump should not burden consumers with increased prices in the grocery checkout aisle.”
AFFI was joined by seven other trade associations, among them the National Chicken Council and the National Turkey Federation, both based in Washington, D.C., to emphasize the considerable harm they believe the RFS has done to the American economy.