Journal of Food Protection | VOL. 84

Food Safety and Employee Health Implications of COVID-19: A Review

Publication Date Nov 1, 2021


ABSTRACT The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted the U.S. food supply and consumer behavior. Food production and processing are being disrupted as illnesses, proactive quarantines, and government-mandated movement restrictions cause labor shortages. In this environment, the food industry has been required to adopt new, additional practices to minimize the risk of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks among its workforce. Successfully overcoming these challenges requires a comprehensive approach that addresses COVID-19 transmission both within and outside the facility. Possible interventions include strategies (i) to vaccinate employees, (ii) to assure that employees practice social distancing, (iii) to assure that employees wear face coverings, (iv) to screen employees for COVID-19, (v) to assure that employees practice frequent hand washing and avoid touching their faces, (vi) to clean frequently touched surfaces, and (vii) to assure proper ventilation. Compliance with these control strategies must be verified, and an overall COVID-19 control culture must be established to implement an effective program. Despite some public misperceptions about the health risk of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 on foods or food packaging, both the virus biology and epidemiological data clearly support a negligible risk of COVID-19 transmission through food and food packing. However, COVID-19 pandemic-related supply chain and workforce disruptions and the shift in resources to protect food industry employees from COV...


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus Industry's Food Safety Food Industry Workforce Disruptions Food Safety Labor Shortages COVID-19 Transmission Food Packaging Food Safety Implications Food Consumer Behavior

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