May 31, 2020

May 30, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 29, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

May 28, 2020

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Food Packaging Workers Listed as Essential by CISA

The federal government has taken a supporting role as state and local governments and private companies institute an evolving patchwork of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 19, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), operating under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, issued guidance and an accompanying list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.” On March 19, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), operating under the Homeland Security Act of 2002, issued guidance and an accompanying list of “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers.”  CISA’s list is intended to promote the ability of essential workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, and closure orders or directives.

CISA identifies Food & Agriculture as a critical industry and describes essential workers in this industry to include the following (a complete list can be reviewed at the link noted above):

  • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail that sells food and beverage products

  • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve operations - Carry-out and delivery food employees

  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging

  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers

  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail

  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education

  • Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids

  • Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products

Importantly, the CISA list above identifies food packaging and other examples of products that people may not generally recognize as being regulated by FDA as “food,” such as pet food and animal feed.  In addition, it also notes restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations as critical infrastructure, which also is dependent on the use of paper and plastic food service items to package, deliver, and serve food products. 

CISA’s list is ‘advisory’ and is intended to promote the ability of essential workers to continue to work during periods of community restriction, access management, social distancing, and closure orders or directives. The question with respect to state and local officials is whether they will recognize that workers along the supply chain who contribute to the manufacture of these finished goods will also be considered essential.

© 2020 Keller and Heckman LLP

TRENDING LEGAL ANALYSIS


About this Author

PackagingLaw.com is the premier online resource for the global packaging industry. It provides a wide range of information on laws and regulations—both in the U.S. and other countries throughout the world—that affect packages and packaging materials. PackagingLaw.com features news articles on current issues affecting the packaging industry, in-depth features, an Ask an Attorney section, links to packaging industry and government websites, and detailed information on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Contact Notification system.

...

202-434-4100