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Local food banks seeing effects of trade tariffs

Posted at 11:20 AM, Dec 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-28 13:23:10-05

TULSA — The Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma is receiving a surplus of food as a result of trade tariffs.

The FDA created the Tariff Relief Bill that allows them to buy up to $1.2 billion worth of goods that would normally be exported. The hope is that it will keep farmers from bearing the brunt of the damages.

Since it was imposed, food banks across the country have started receiving the food, including the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.

"Since the middle of October, we have had nine complete tractor trailer loads of fresh liquid milk," Eileen Bradshaw, executive director for the food bank, said.

She went on to say they are expecting another delivery on Wednesday.

So far, they have received palettes of FDA oranges, grapes, cheese and milk. Bradshaw called them "top-tier products" that families want but cannot always buy for themselves.

Bradshaw said they are expecting to get pork, beef, chicken, blueberries and a variety of other fruits, as a result of the tariffs.

"Which is awesome, but we have to get it out very quickly because we don’t want anything to go to waste," Bradshaw said.

She said the FDA has waived some of the regulations previously in place to get the food in the hands of someone who needs it before it goes bad. For example, families that might not get any milk or a gallon, may walk away with two gallons.

"To have perhaps more than one gallon for your family is literally like Christmas," Bradshaw said.

She called what is happening an "ironic benefit" and said it did not hit her radar when she heard about the trade wars.

"In the end, it's the families who are sitting around the table with something like blueberries in their cereal that it's just a rare occurrence," Bradshaw said. "It's wonderful. It's a special thing."

Organizations that the food bank partners with are having extra distributions to give out the food before it expires.

The FDA said it will buy products in four phases. Bradshaw's understanding is that the Tariff Relief Bill could last through mid-2019. The FDA said things could change based on the status of trade negotiations.

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