The OpSense team applauds the nation’s champions and heroes of the food industry who continue to meet the public’s needs through this crisis. Uninterrupted functioning of the US food supply chain is critical as the country follows federal, state, and local COVID-19 safety guidelines. Extensive resources have been published to guide food production, processing and retail operations, and we are highlighting a few.
US Food & Drug Administration
The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) web page dedicated to food safety and COVID-19 contains guidance and resources, including a Q&A for industry. A few of the questions answered include:
- What measures are FDA (and CDC, state partners, etc.) taking to ensure that we remain able to address foodborne illness outbreaks during the COVID-19 pandemic?
- How do I maintain social distancing in my food production/processing facility and food retail establishment where employees typically work within close distances?
- What steps do I need to take to clean the facility/equipment to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
- How do I handle self-service food buffets such as salad bars in a retail setting related to COVID-19?
US Department of Agriculture
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has dedicated a page to COVID-19 with announcements, frequently asked questions and links to additional resources. A few of the questions answered include:
- What is USDA doing to ensure access to food?
- Can I become sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) from food?
- Can I get sick with COVID-19 from touching food, the food packaging, or food contact surfaces, if the coronavirus was present on it?
Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) within DHS advises on risks and threats to a secure and resilient digital, physical, man-made, technological and natural infrastructure. CISA has identified 16 critical infrastructure sectors related to the response to COVID-19, including the Food and Agriculture sector. In, “Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure workforce: Ensuring Community and National Resilience in COVID-19,” workers in the Food and Agriculture sector – agricultural production, food processing, distribution, retail and foodservice, and allied industries – are named as essential critical infrastructure workers. According to CISA:
“The Food and Agriculture Sector is almost entirely under private ownership and is composed of an estimated 2.1 million farms, 935,000 restaurants, and more than 200,000 registered food manufacturing, processing, and storage facilities. This sector accounts for roughly one-fifth of the nation’s economic activity.”
CISA provides this guidance to help state, local, and industry partners to identify essential workers and to promote the ability for them to continue to work.
OpSense encourages you to review FDA, USDA and DHS sites for more information, updates and notifications.