Cancel OK

FDA: Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

The Food and Drug Administration released this information March 17, 2020:

The following are resources available to industry members and consumers on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and food safety.

For additional information, visit FDA’s main page Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Q: Is the U.S. food supply safe?

A: Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.

Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. However, it’s always critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness.

Q: Will there be food shortages?

A: There are no nationwide shortages of food, although in some cases the inventory of certain foods at your grocery store might be temporarily low before stores can restock. Food production and manufacturing are widely dispersed throughout the United States and no widespread disruptions have been reported in the supply chain.

FDA is closely monitoring the food supply chain for any shortages in collaboration with industry and our federal and state partners. We are in regular contact with food manufacturers and grocery stores.

Q: Where should the food industry go for guidance about business operations?

A: Food facilities, like other work establishments, need to follow protocols set by local and state health departments, which may vary depending on the amount of community spread of COVID-19 in a particular area. We encourage coordination with local health officials for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where they have operations.

Click here for more questions and answers.