For the first time, the federal government is required to purchase and provide food banks emergency supplies of kosher or halal products.

The void was first revealed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, which wreaked havoc on the East Coast in 2012 and led to food shortages for those most in need. A Jewish philanthropic organization in New York alerted lawmakers, and the measure was tucked into the sweeping federal farm bill signed into law in February.

Federal agriculture officials now must implement the law, which requires them to buy food prepared in accordance with Jewish and Muslim dietary rules. It can't be more expensive than regularly produced food.

Agencies that operate food banks welcome the provision but say there are challenges in getting some products for the same price.