ABC27 DIGITAL ORIGINAL: Empty supermarket shelves unlikely during this COVID-19 surge, agriculture secretary says

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — With COVID-19 diagnoses and deaths surging in Pennsylvania to their highest levels since April, Russell Redding, the state’s secretary of agriculture, says one early-pandemic scourge — empty supermarket shelves — is unlikely to resurface.

Redding said problems with food supply, access and distribution converged to cause the empty shelves and rations previously unknown to many Americans.

“I think that pendulum has swung back where the systems have responded really well,” Redding said. “So we have not had those … chronic shortages.”

It’s not only a question of logistics, he added.

“I also want to give credit to the public,” he said. “I think they’ve recognized that food is there, so no need to panic-buy. It’s available.”

Speaking Wednesday at virtual event about “food insecurity” in Pennsylvania (fully 24 percent of children in the state can’t count on consistently nutritious meals, up from 15 percent before the crisis) he said food banks, like supermarkets, are experiencing fewer shortages than during March, April and May.

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