Agriculture minister urges Albertans not to stockpile food

Alberta’s agriculture minister said Thursday he is working to ensure Albertans can access safe, affordable food as its COVID-19 response continues.

The province is working with industry to monitor the food supply closely, Devin Dreeshen said in a news conference Thursday.

Shortages of certain items that some stores are experiencing does not mean food supplies are running low, he said.

He told Albertans there is no need to stockpile food and supplies which puts unnecessary pressure on the food supply chain.

The province is working with retailers on supply pressures for high-demand items and monitoring availability in rural, remote and Indigenous communities, he said.

“There are a lot of moving parts to get food to market and on kitchen tables,” Dreeshen said.

“Food is essential and we are in constant contact with our food suppliers and we will do whatever it takes to keep them open,” he added. “I want to assure all Albertans that our food supply will remain safe, secure and accessible.

“Again, I would like to reiterate to Albertans that you do not need to stockpile food and supplies.”

Dreeshen also urged the federal government to declare agriculture an essential service.

Canada’s agriculture sector has warned of higher prices and potential food shortages if farming isn’t designated an essential service and allowed to do business as usual during the COVID-19 crisis.

While governments maintain supplies are secure, some people worry about empty grocery store shelves, especially in regard to food staples.

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