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The National Restaurant Association (NRA) stated the EPA’s proposal to lower the biofuel-blending requirement, including corn-based ethanol, is a step in the right direction to fix the broken Renewable Fuel Standard and could help protect businesses and consumers from food price volatility in the short term.
“The availability and affordability of corn is a vital component to U.S. food production. While this proposal is a positive step forward, more needs to be done in order to ease pressure on corn and food prices,” says Scott DeFife, executive vice president of Policy & Government Affairs with the NRA. “Lowering the biofuel-blending target would benefit consumers, businesses, and the overall economy by helping to lower these costs, and Congress should continue to explore structural changes to the program through legislation.”
Wholesale food costs have increased nearly 30 percent over the last six years. Last year, 40 percent of U.S. corn crops were devoted to fuel production, rather than food or feed.
“Food costs are a top business challenge for the restaurant industry, representing about one-third of restaurant costs,” DeFife says. “As a result, fluctuations in food and commodity prices significantly impact restaurants’ bottom lines.”
The EPA proposal would lower the overall requirement to its previous 2012 level. This is the first-ever reduction in the biofuels mandate.