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 (abbreviated COVID-19).

Frequently Asked Questions

Reports of individuals contracting COVID-19 via consuming frozen foods, or via handling frozen food packaging have not been scientifically validated.

More than a dozen public health authorities from around the world, including the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), along with leading food safety experts, all agree that there is no evidence of the spread of COVID-19 through consumption of food or food packaging, and no known cases of foodborne COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a respiratory ailment, not a foodborne one. Learn more here.

While there are a number of preventative steps and actions that you should take, AFFI recommends that all companies do the following:

  1. Use the resources and recommendations on this page to create a plan that prioritizes worker safety.
  2. Provide all workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) like face masks, shields and gloves and require their use.
  3. 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. Social Distancing Protocol
  1. Send the employee home immediately.
  2. Encourage employee to contact their local health department and healthcare provider.
  3. 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.
  4. Employee may be able to return to work when they have not had a fever for at least 72 hours since recovery and when other symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath have improved.
  5. 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.
Employee Positive Test Protocol

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:

  1. A statement of identity
  2. An ingredient statement
  3. The name and place of business of the food manufacturer, packer, or distributor
  4. Net quantity of contents
  5. Allergen information required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act

Additional Labeling & Foodservice Guidance

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.

Employee & HR Resources

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. 

Facility Management Resources

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.
  1. Inform your local authorities that your facility will remain operational as part of the critical infrastructure of this country. Provide them with this guidance from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that defines the industries, including our broad food industry, considered critical.
  2. Inform your workforce of the importance of keeping our food system operating and that includes your company, as part of our nation’s critical infrastructure. Encourage and recognize them for continuing to work.
  3. Provide your workforce with “certification” that they are employed by your company and as such, should be exempt from local restrictions such as curfews, shelter-in-place orders, and other mobility restrictions when reporting to/from work, or performing work functions. For this purpose, you may use this self-certification template for transportation employees and food and agriculture employees on your company letterhead. The language can be modified to suit your company’s needs.
More Transportation Resources

Resources Developed by AFFI

Foodservice Resources

Government Funds

PPE Guidance

Facility Management

OSHA Guidance and Regulations

The food industry should be aware of the following OSHA Regulations to maintain operations and reopen:

Transportation

Employee Care and Human Resources

State Resources

Community and Family Recommendations

Additional Information

The Food and Beverage Issues Alliance held two webinars, one on COVID-19 Facts and Fiction for the Food Industry and COVID-19 the Current Situation. See AFFI’s notes here.

Resources from AFFI Partners

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. 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).

Legal Disclaimer

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.

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