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A coalition of 13 food groups, including the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) and the National Grocers Association (NGA), has come out in support of bipartisan legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that aims to protect food makers and consumers from food price increases by reforming the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires the use of billions of gallons of corn-based ethanol.
Introduced by Reps. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Jim Costa (D-Calif.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Steve Womack (R-Ark.), the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act prohibits corn-based ethanol from being used to meet the RFS, and lowers the total size of the RFS by 42 percent over the next nine years. The bill also limits the RFS to only renewable biomass and other advanced biofuels.
The huge amount of corn diverted by the RFS to fuel production has led to significant price rises for corn, making meat proteins, dairy, wheat and soybeans more expensive. Currently, the RFS requires the blending of 13 billion gallons of corn-based ethanol, a practice that uses up about 40 percent of the U.S. corn supply.
“Americans need responsible energy policy solutions that do not pit our nation’s energy needs against food security for millions of families,” noted Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the GMA, adding that the proposed legislation would be “an important step towards reforming the ill-conceived food-for-fuel policies that are driving up the cost of food for consumers when they can least afford it”
“Frozen food makers and their suppliers believe food should be used to fuel bodies, not vehicle engines,” added Kraig R. Naasz, president and CEO of AFFI.
“The price of corn can significantly impact the cost of meat and cheese ingredients vital to making frozen pizzas,” explained Corey Henry, executive director of NFPI. “Reforming the RFS will protect frozen pizza makers and consumers from harmful price shocks, and ensure that food is used as food, not fuel.”
Other members of the coalition include the American Bakers Association, the American Beverage Association, the American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI), the Associations for Dressings & Sauces, the California League of Food Processors, the International Dairy Foods Association, the Juice Products Association, the National Association of Margarine Manufacturers, the National Frozen Pizza Institute (NFPI), the National Restaurant Association and the Snack Foods Association.