AFFI has developed this page to provide the best available guidance and share resources compiled from public health agencies and other food trade associations to manage the spread and impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Frequently Asked Questions
While there are a number of preventative steps and actions that you should take, AFFI recommends that all companies do the following:
- Use the resources and recommendations on this page to create a plan that prioritizes worker safety.
- Provide all workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks, shields and gloves and require their use.
- Proactively contact your local health department and build a relationship with them now.
Identify areas in production where employees can minimize physical contact with other employees such as in common areas and shift changes. Address high-touch points and clearly communicate these throughout your facility.
Send the employee home immediately.
Encourage employee to contact their local health department and healthcare provider.
Identify potentially exposed individuals and clean and disinfect appropriate areas. Unless advised by local authorities, other individuals in the facility should not be considered high risk for infection and may continue working.
Employee may be able to return to work until at least 10 days have passed since symptom onset AND At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever.
Because transmission occurs from person to person, a facility does not need to shut down as a result of an employee, visitor, or other individual testing positive for COVID-19 if this protocol is addressed.
At this time, FDA does not intend to object to the sale of packaged food (both perishable and non-perishable food) that lacks a Nutrition Facts label and or retail packaging, provided that the food does not have any nutrition claims and contains the following required information on the label, including:
- A statement of identity
- An ingredient statement
- The name and place of business of the food manufacturer, packer, or distributor
- Net quantity of contents
- Allergen information required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act
AFFI has consulted with its legal counsel Hogan Lovells to address many of the employee and human resource issues that your company might encounter related to COVID-19.
AFFI has compiled resources on sanitation, and good hygiene as well as guidance from the CDC, Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Small Business Administration for food facilities.
AFFI has put together this guidance for loans and tax breaks contained in the CARES Act, including how you can determine if your company qualifies for those benefits.
Resources Developed by AFFI
Infographics Developed by AFFI
OSHA Guidance and Regulations
- OSHA Enforcement Discretion Memo
- OSHA Guidance on Recordkeeping related to COVID-19 Cases
- OSHA Guidance on the Use of Cloth Face Coverings While Working Indoors in Hot and Humid Conditions
The food industry should be aware of the following OSHA Regulations to maintain operations and reopen:
- CDC Guidance for Agriculture Workers and Employees
- Interim Guidance from CDC and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
- Reporting a Temporary Closure or Significantly Reduced Production by a Human Food Establishment and Requesting FDA Assistance During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
- Guidance for California facilities that process or pack meat, dairy, or produce
- What to do if you have COVID-19 Confirmed Positive or Exposed Workers
- CDC Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Recommendations
- Temporary Policy for Preparation of Certain Alcohol-Based Sanitizer
- Temporary Policy for Manufacture of Alcohol for Incorporation into Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer Products
Employee Care and Human Resources
- Family and Medical Leave – Public Health Emergencies
- CDC: Criteria to Return to Work for Employees
- Labor Employment Considerations for US Employers Responding to the Coronavirus
- Hogan Lovells Summary of Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- AFFI webinar (4.17.20) on COVID-19 liability
- AFFI webinar (3.19.20) on HR challenges.
- FDA Coronavirus Resource and Q&A
- CDC Coronavirus Resource and Q&A
- WHO Coronavirus Resource and Q&A
- FEMA Coronavirus Rumor Control
- Department of Labor Coronavirus Resources
- Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19
Current Understanding of Impact to Foods
There is no evidence demonstrating that COVID-19 is transmitted through consumption of foods. Since this is a novel coronavirus, researchers across the world have already begun to conduct specific experiments to evaluate its survivability in food environments. There is some evidence that the virus can survive on a variety of surfaces for up to a week including on food packaging. However, food packaging is also not known to be associated with transmission of the virus. Click here to see AFFI’s FAQ’s on food transmission and visit FeedingUS.org for more resources.
Good personal hygiene remains the best measure to prevent the spread of the virus. This includes washing hands and surfaces often, separating raw meat from other foods, cooking foods to the right temperature, and refrigerating foods promptly when handling or preparing food (clean, separate, cook, and chill).
The voluntary industry guidance on this website (“Industry Guidance”) is based on recommendations received from a variety of sources, including federal agencies, state health authorities, and industry advisors. As recommended practices continue to evolve, guidance on these issues also may have been issued by federal agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Department of Labor, state and local authorities, and others subsequent to the formulation of this Industry Guidance. For this reason, in addition to considering this Industry Guidance, readers are encouraged to review any and all updated guidance from either industry or governmental authorities, as well as any guidance that may be issued in the future, as it is expected that recommended practices will continue to evolve. Readers should also check this website for any updated versions of this Industry Guidance.
American Frozen Food Institute, United Fresh Produce Association and Western Growers Association disclaim all (1) express and implied warranties and (2) any liability that may allegedly result as a result of reliance on this Industry Guidance.
Readers are also encouraged to exercise their best judgment in considering whether, due to their particular individual circumstances, it would be reasonable to implement additional measures to further reduce the risks related to COVID-19. Readers are further encouraged to consider any and all additional authoritative resources and advice.