FDA and OSHA publish COVID-19 food safety checklist, with additional information for seafood processors

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in partnership with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), has released a food safety checklist for human and animal food operations to heed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The checklist is meant to be used as an assessment tool as pandemic conditions persist, and can be especially pertinent for operations re-starting after a recent shutdown.

“Some or all of this checklist may be useful to persons growing, harvesting, packing, manufacturing, processing, or holding human and animal food regulated by FDA. This includes produce, seafood, milk, eggs, grains, game meat, and other raw materials or ingredients, as well as their resulting human or animal food products,” the agency said in a press release.

The FDA noted that the checklist is “not exhaustive of all things human and animal food operations may do for employee health and food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic and can be used in conjunction with additional information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), OSHA, and other federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial authorities.”

A sector-specific section for seafood processing workers, which was developed by the CDC and the U.S. Department of Labor for Agriculture Workers and Employers in consultation with the FDA, is also available, the agency said. The document shares strategies for creating a COVID-19 assessment and control plan as well as sanitizing living spaces, cooking and eating areas, bathrooms, and laundry facilities, and more.

The checklist and related materials were released in August and September, coinciding with National Food Safety Education Month (September) in the United States. The FDA also released “Food Safety in Your Kitchen” materials for consumers to use when cooking at home during the pandemic. The guidance includes various food safety tips for preparing and cooking seafood.  

Photo courtesy of InkheartX/Shutterstock


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