Officials are working diligently to ensure that the public is aware of the factual information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and how it relates to food safety. The California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) is continuing efforts to provide a safe and healthy food supply. Those efforts include maintaining the strict infrastructure for food inspection, implementing extensive sanitary practices and preventative controls.
“Food safety is paramount due to the nutrition provided by California fruits, nuts, vegetables, meat, eggs and dairy products to the health and wellbeing of our citizens,” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross said in a news release. “We know the importance of keeping supply chains healthy and borders open as currently one in eight individuals is food insecure, with one in five of those being children.”
CDFA has said it will be working closely with the California Office of Emergency Services, the California Department of Public Health, as well as other federal, state, and county agencies to ensure California continues producing food for the country and the world during the COVID-19 pandemic. California already has some of the most stringent food safety and hygiene protocols in the country for employees working in the food system.
Information from both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), indicates that there is no data suggesting that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging. A fact sheet from USDA states that “there is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19.” The U.S. Centers for Disease Control also reports that “In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.”
State and federal agencies are all recommending implementing good hygienic routines such as frequent hand washing and avoiding close contact with people who are sick. While there is no direct COVID-19 risk associated with food, USDA is reminding the public to adhere to good hygiene practices when handling or preparing foods.