The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association (MRLA) and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development today announced a partnership that will enable restaurants to sell food and pantry items, which currently can only be sold by stores, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state’s restaurant industry already is trained in food safety and sanitation and only needs guidance on how to label food to conduct retail sales. Through the new partnership restaurants can receive training on proper labeling, ultimately offering more options to Michigan consumers and keeping the supply chain moving in more directions.
MRLA has provided guidance documents on its website for all industry members seeking to provide support to the grocery stores. Foodservice operations can find free ServSafe food safety training specific to takeout and delivery services that provides resources for keeping food safe during the pandemic.
“Michigan restaurants are facing the COVID-19 crisis head-on and ensuring Michiganders have access to safe food,” says Justin Winslow, president and CEO of the MRLA. “Grocery stores are overwhelmed with unprecedented demand. The food supply chain for the restaurant industry is vetted, reliable, and a great resource to supplement traditional grocery stores. Having restaurants sell typical grocery items will help support the extremely taxed grocery stores and provide customers with access to the essential food supplies they need during the Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order issued by Governor Whitmer.”
The association was founded in 1921 as the Michigan Restaurant Association. It represents more than 5,000 Michigan foodservice and lodging establishments. It employs more than 595,000 people and creates nearly $40 billion in annual sales.
The department has six divisions that cultivate and expand economic opportunities for the food and agriculture sector, safeguard the public’s food supply, inspect and enforce animal health practices, control and eradicate plant pests and diseases, preserve the environment for farming, and enforcing laws related to weights and measures.