Groups representing most every corner of the nation’s food and beverage supply urged government officials to heed federal guidelines to allow CPG manufacturers to keep making and moving out goods at full steam.

The groups say the federal government exempted consumer packaged goods facilities, including suppliers and truck drivers, from curfews and restrictions on the size of group gatherings during the COVID-19 outbreak. But that message has not reached some state and local officials, according to a letter from the Consumer Brands Association and 60 industry associations, addressed to government officials at all levels.

Some states clearly exempted food, beverage and CPGs (including makers of cleaning supplies, paper goods, personal care products), but some have not, creating delay in several areas of the U.S. as the local restrictions take effect. The inconsistent policies are causing confusion in the industry and among employees, and the groups ask for help clarifying businesses that are exempt.

“Gathering restrictions and curfews are critical for protecting Americans and helping to flatten the curve, but the unintended consequences of those efforts could be detrimental to the production of essential goods for our fellow Americans,” Consumer Brands Association President and CEO Geoff Freeman says. “Our industry is working around the clock to manufacture the products Americans need now more than ever. Our supply chain and production capabilities are strong and they will remain strong so long as we are permitted to operate at full capacity.”

The groups ask the federal and state governments to act quickly to explain that food, pet food, beverage and other CPG manufacturers are exempt and that employees should be encouraged to continue work while healthy. Essential supply chain partners for CPG manufacturing—such as ingredient and packaging transportation, warehouses, distribution centers and retail stores—should also be considered critical infrastructure and exempt from the group size limits and curfews.

“Our requests are consistent with the designation of the food and agriculture industry as ‘critical infrastructure,’” the groups write. “Further, manufacturing facilities are not areas of ‘public gathering,’ but are heavily controlled environments that operate under strict food safety requirements, exemplify good manufacturing practices and exercise rigorous hygienic protocols.”

If federal law does not clearly allow these exemptions, the groups ask the Trump Administration and Congress for a quick legislative change.

“I’ve spoken with countless CPG leaders, and they’ve assured me that they can meet this challenge so long as (1) employees are permitted to go to work, (2) essential manufacturing facilities stay open and (3) transportation is available to move product. This is a simple roadmap that we urge state and local leaders to work with us to implement,” Freeman says.

The groups that signed the letter:

American Bakers Association

American Beverage Association

American Cleaning Institute

American Frozen Food Institute

American Fruit and Vegetable Processors and Growers Coalition

American Herbal Products Association

American Spice Trade Association

American Sugar Alliance

Association for Dressings & Sauces

Beer Institute

California League of Food Producers

Can Manufacturers Institute

Corn Refiners Association

Consumer Brands Association

Council for Responsible Nutrition

Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

FMI-the Food Industry Association

Food Northwest

Global Cold Chain Alliance

Healthcare Nutrition Council

Household & Commercial Products Association

Independent Bakers Association

Infant Nutrition Council of America

Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils

International Bottled Water Association

International Dairy Foods Association

International Flight Services Association

International Food Additives Council

International Foodservice Distributors Association

Juice Products Association

Midwest Food Processors Association

National Automatic Merchandising Association

National Association of Chemical Distributors

National Coffee Association

National Confectioners Association

National Council of Farmer Cooperatives

National Fisheries Institute

National Grain and Feed Association

National Grocers Association

National Milk Producers Federation

National Pasta Association

National Peach Council

National Potato Council

National Restaurant Association

North American Meat Institute

North American Millers Association

North American Renderers Association

Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association

Pet Food Institute

Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council

SNAC International

Southeastern Food Processors Association

Sugar Association

Tea Association of the U.S.A.

United Egg Producers

United Fresh Produce Association

Urban School Food Alliance

USA Rice

US Sweet Potato Council

Vinegar Institute

Wine Institute