How Hurricane Harvey Affects the Food Industry

Hurricane Harvey has swept southeast Texas like a devastating wave. The Hurricane has affected homeowners, animals, businesses and many more.

In light of recent events, Abasto Magazine will be releasing a series of articles related to how this damage is affecting the Hispanic food and beverage industry. The articles will reflect interviews with companies whose distributors, suppliers, competitors, etc. have been changed in some way by the recent disaster.

Arturo Perez, National Sales Director for GPS Imports, told Abasto that Hurricane Harvey had not seriously affected his company when it came to assortment of products, but it did disturb the usual cycle in terms of transportation. Perez claims that their transportation distributors have no drivers available and in some cases, have been helping people affected by the hurricane by transporting basic necessities to victims.

GPS Imports’ offices have been closed Monday and Tuesday, but re-opened on Wednesday. However, they are still having problems with packaging and postal delivery service. To help those around them, they will also be donating products to those affected.

Perez said one of the messages sent to him by one of their transportation companies was, “Rail just shut down capacity out of Laredo for this week.  FEMA is using trucks and Containers for Relief of Hurricane.  This probably can’t pick up until next Tuesday.  We need to make a decision quick before they keep kicking us out.”

Although the worst of the hurricane has passed, the after-effects of the flooding continue to distress the city of Houston, Texas.

Due to road conditions and weather, it is hard for any transportation of products to continue underway. Drivers cannot be sent in until weather conditions have improved.

Another email sent to Perez related that, “This devastating storm has, and will continue to have, a major impact on intermodal shipments to the Houston area as well as cross-border moves between the U.S. and Mexico.”

Perez also noted that he has seen and heard about the increase of transportation prices and Diesel.

IRS Provides Tax Relief for Hurricane Harvey victims

Francisco Usobiaga from Latin Food Logistics told Abasto Magazine that the La Moderna, San Marcos and Reina Meals companies are supporting victims of the hurricane with their products.

“We are truly devastated, but thankful to God that we are still very much wanting to work and supporting our beloved Hispanic community,” said Usobiaga.

According to the Eater Houston publication, Hurricane Harvey is predicted to have a negative impact on Houston restaurants. Although the rain has ended, industry experts expect that customers will be too focused on rebuilding to dine out in the coming months.

“It’s going to have a major impact on the industry,” financial analyst Bonnie Riggs told CNBC. “Even if these restaurants are able to be open or if some are able to open up later on down the road, the demand is just not going to be there.”

Pointing to what will likely be tens of billions of dollars in rebuilding costs for residents and businesses along the Gulf Coast, Riggs also told CNBC that many consumers in the area won’t have the extra cash to spend at restaurants while trying to rebuild their homes and lives.

Aid Organizations for Businesses Affected by Hurricane Harvey

For those needing assistance with their business in regards to the destruction of Hurricane Harvey, here are some aid organizations.

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency):

Helpline 1-800-621-3362

FEMA provides referrals for business owners and farmers. FEMA may also maintain a list of additional referral resources for business owners and farmers. The referrals may be obtained by calling the FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-3362.

Business and farm loans are available to people who have suffered damage to business property or economic injury. These low-interest loans are available through the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA), to repair or replace damaged property not covered by insurance, and to provide working capital. FEMA does not offer grant assistance to businesses and farmers.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service provides information and materials to farmers, ranchers, and others on what they can do to protect themselves and their property against the hazards associated with disasters. Information is available on such topics as: cleanup of damaged property, sanitation precautions, insect control, food preparation in an emergency, recovery actions on damaged farms, and renovations of damaged equipment and property.

For small businesses administrations:

SBA offers low-interest, long-term disaster loans to small businesses of all sizes, private non-profit organizations, homeowners, and renters to repair or replace uninsured/underinsured disaster damaged property.

Loan amounts and terms are set by SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.

SBA will be alongside FEMA at Disaster and Business Recovery Centers, providing assistance to disaster survivors. At the centers, disaster survivors will be able to apply in person, and get counseling on the next steps toward recovery.

For more information about SBA Disaster Loans, visit Our Customer Service Center is also available to provide assistance at 1-800-659-2955 or by e-mail at [email protected]

United States Department of Agriculture

Farm Service Agency

USDA offers a variety of programs and services to help communities, farmers, ranchers and businesses that have been hard hit by Hurricane Harvey.

For Texas Producers, the Hurricane Harvey Information Line is (866) 680-6069.

For information on the Farm Service Agency Disaster Assistance Programs (FSA), visit your local FSA county office or service center, or visit online at

To find your local FSA county office, visit