During these extraordinary times, the fresh produce industry remains committed to keeping fresh produce moving to millions of consumers across the United States and around the world. The fresh produce industry is truly an essential part of the public health infrastructure and remains committed to continuing to grow and bring food to consumers.
Like any business, companies along our supply chain are addressing health first and foremost by implementing their own corporate sick leave policies that are in the best interest for the health and safety of their employees. You can learn more about these efforts here: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/controlprevention.html
Keeping Stores Stocked & People Fed
The companies along the fresh produce supply chain are committed to making sure food is grown and delivered, and are doing everything needed to ensure continuity of the supply chain. You can help by following President Trump’s request to not hoard food and other household supplies.
FMI’s (the Food Industry Association) CEO, Leslie Sarasin articulated the steps the industry is taking to provide food and supplies to Americans:
Keeping Food Safe
There is no evidence that fresh produce (or any other food, or other product/material) can transmit the coronavirus/COVID-19. The FDA directly addresses food safety concerns at the bottom of their FAQ page here where they answer your questions about the people who are in contact with the food you are consuming before it comes into your possession.
United Fresh Produce Association, in conjunction with our industry partners at the Produce Marketing Association and FMI, the food industry association, have jointly stated:
“There are no clinically confirmed cases of COVID-19 linked to the consumption of fresh produce or food sold through traditional retail outlets. As consumers select their produce, adhering to food safety guidance is critical. We encourage consumers to wash their hands, and wash and prepare their produce following FDA recommendations.”
Food Safety Expert Dr. Don Schaffner of Rutgers University squashes the myths and misconceptions associated with handling groceries during this pandemic. Dr. Schaffner is the “real deal,” serving as mentor and professor to United Fresh’s VP Food Safety, Jennifer McEntire, and he continues to collaborate with us on several important produce safety initiatives.
Personal hygiene and sanitation practices have long been a critical part of food production. As a member of the Partnership for Food Safety Education, we’re sharing this guidance for keeping yourself, your surfaces and your food safe.
What To Know About Disinfectant Products
When purchasing a product, check if its EPA registration number is included on List N. List N includes products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19. If it is, you have a match and the product can be used against SARS-CoV-2. You can find this on the product label – just look for the first two sets of numbers of the EPA Reg. No.
Products may be marketed and sold under different brand names, but if they have the same first two sets of EPA registration numbers, they are related products. If EPA Reg. No. 12345-12 is on List N, you can buy EPA Reg. No. 12345-12-2567 and use the same contact time and virus from List N.
- World Health Organization: Coronavirus Situation Report
- How Does the Coronavirus Compare With the Flu?
- FDA’s COVID-19 FAQ’s
- USDA COVID-19 page