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FDA answers food safety questions regarding COVID-19

The Food and Drug Administration is addressing food safety concerns about the coronavirus COVID-19 through an extensive Q&A on its website.

Topics include what should food processors and growers do if an employee tests positive and if it would force a shutdown. The short answer: employees should follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, and the locations where the employee worked should be sanitized, but there’s no evidence the virus spreads through food.

There are food safety protocols companies should follow concerning sick employees, regardless of what the cause of the illness is.

Produce and other food from these farms and facilities do not have to be recalled.

“We do not anticipate that food products would need to be recalled or be withdrawn from the market because of COVID-19, as there is currently no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with food or food packaging,” according to the FDA.

The FDA suggests employers contact local health authorities to learn about policies regarding ill employees. According to the FDA, local authorities will make a decision on how COVID-19 cases would affect facilities and farms, but those decisions wouldn’t be food safety-related.