By: Doug Baker, Vice President, Industry Relations and Hannah Walker, Vice President, Political Affairs, Food Marketing Institute
As we collaborate on this post, the current storm in the Gulf of Mexico has just been deemed Tropical Storm Barry by the National Weather Service. That classification may change, and the potential impact of the storm is shifting rapidly; however, we know Tropical Storm Barry will likely produce a lot of rain and subsequent flooding that will disrupt the food retail supply chain and communities. Here are some important points to keep in mind as you prepare for Tropical Storm Barry with key resources.
Key Crisis Resources
Here are the three-must-have resources for food retailers during any natural disaster crisis:
- USDA FNS Food Assistance for Disaster Relief - Updates from USDA FNS on disaster areas that are granted SNAP replacements, D-SNAP and other services.
- FEMA Private Sector Liaison Map – Print out a copy and keep it dry. Call and reintroduce yourself to your contact.
- All Hazards Consortium – Barry Page – This is your one-stop-shop on the latest emergency notices related to any natural disaster. They have a specific Barry Page.
Additional Crisis Resources
We have a number of general crisis management resources on our Crisis Management webpage including a Natural Disaster Guide. As the storm develops, we’ll curate and post additional resources related specifically to food retailers.
Food Safety –The security and quality of food remains top of mind, and a written Food Safety Emergency Plan should identify the food products and equipment temperatures that should be monitored and documented, including the frequency and tools needed and the criteria for discarding food.
Consumer Food Safety Messages—Now is an important time to share food safety information with shoppers. Foodsafety.gov’s Food Safety in a Disaster or Emergency webpage includes information to share with consumers on how to keep food safe before, during, and after emergencies, such as natural disasters, or the loss of power. Additional toolkits and resources are available from the Partnership for Food Safety Education. These are helpful messages to share on social media and in store with shoppers as reminders while they prepare for the storm. You can also follow the real-time conversation on social media by using the hashtag #barry