Struggling Calif. food bank blames ELD mandate for rising shipping costs, less food distributed

Food banks in California are blaming the recent Electronic Logging Mandate for the rising cost of shipping that has forced them to cancel many of their planned shipments of food.

The Food Bank Coalition of San Luis Obispo County, California has been providing needy families with fresh produce to feed their children for years but recently, the organization has been forced to cancel shipments due to a recent rise in transportation costs.

“In some cases we’re actually not taking in planned shipments of fresh produce,” explained Director of Operations Tim Parker.

“Freight bills have gone up to the extent that sometimes it’s just not worth it to even say yes to them.”

Parker says that, since the ELD mandate went into effect several months ago, forcing truckers to track their hours in electronic logging devices, the price of shipping food has risen exponentially but the food bank’s budget has not, forcing the organization to supply less food to those families in need. Even splitting the cost of shipping between nearby food banks isn’t providing the financial relief the organization needs.

“What we’re experiencing now is that on some of those longer haul routes, formerly we might have expected to split a freight bill between the food banks of let’s say 400 dollars. We’re seeing sometimes double or triple that amount now,” Parker continued.

“A lot of those produce items that we order in bulk we do rely on those,” said ,” Nutrition Program Manager Melissa Danehey.

Fewer produce shipments means less food for the food bank’s breakfast program and children’s farmers market, potentially allowing hungry children to go without food, so the food bank has turned to programs like Glean SLO, a company that harvests the leftover produce not collected by farmers that would have otherwise gone to waste, to fill the gaps left by the produce too expensive to accept.

“We’re kind of doing our best to make sure we’re still able to keep our programs consistent,” Danehey said.

KSBY reports that the organization is already lobbying for an exemption from the ELD Mandate for agricultural truckers, allowing for the time-sensitive produce to be shipped and received as quickly as possible and potentially lowering the cost.