FDA Issues Guidance On Best Practices for Retail/Restaurants During the Covid-19 Pandemic
On April 9, 2020, the FDA issued Best Practices for Retail Food Stores, Restaurants, and Food Pick-Up/Delivery Services During the Covid-19 Pandemic. The publication provides measures intended to promote employee health and safe handling of food during the pandemic. It is available as a one-page summary chart here.
In particular, it outlines suggestions for both employers and employees to ensure that sick workers are quickly identified and that their exposure to other workers is minimized. The recommendations for employers include: (1) instructing sick employees to stay at home and immediately sending home any employees identified as sick; (2) informing employees of their possible exposure to Covid-19 while maintaining confidentiality; and (3) implementing controls to reduce transmission among employees, including screening for symptoms prior to work and regularly disinfecting work spaces and equipment.
The publication also provides guidance for management of foodservice establishments in retail food stores including ensuring that foods are heated prior to service and rapidly cooled after, and discontinuing service stations that require common use of utensils or dispensers. Similarly, the publication provides guidance for management of food pick-up and delivery services including cleaning and sanitizing receptacles used to deliver foods and establishing procedures to ensure appropriate social distancing, such as no-contact alerts for deliveries and designated zones for pick-up.
The publication draws from other previously issued guidance documents and serves as both a condensed guide to best practices during the pandemic, as well as a resource for those seeking more detailed guidance. Keller and Heckman will continue to monitor and report on Covid-19 developments that impact the food industry.