Food & Beverage Update: FDA and OSHA Provide Health and Safety Checklist for Food Operations During Pandemic

On August 11, 2020, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued jointly developed guidance to assist the food industry as it continues to operate during the challenging times presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The jointly issued “Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic” draws upon existing guidance from the FDA, OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to serve as a quick reference guide for assessing employee health, social distancing, and food safety.

With regard to employee health, the sixteen (16) page checklist focuses on CDC and OSHA guidelines regarding health screening and operational configuration to support social distancing. As for food safety, the checklist highlights existing regulations pertaining to food safety requirements with an eye towards assessing COVID-19 operational changes and their potential effect on food safety practices (ex. plant closures, changes to suppliers or ingredients, personnel changes).

While this new checklist is certainly useful, prudent food companies will also continue to stay abreast of the orders, guidance, or recommendations of their respective state and local governmental and health officials, as well as the guidance issued by the FDA, CDC and OSHA. Our collective understanding of COVID-19 and its impacts on health, safety and our economy continues to evolve. Prudence dictates one remain vigilant so as to follow best practices as they evolve in order to mitigate these impacts. Should you have any questions regarding your situation we remain available to assist.

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