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COVID-19 Washington State Dept. of Agriculture Produce Safety Program Information

The COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) disease outbreak is evolving, but the following information supplements current food safety standards and practices already in place for produce farms and facilities in Washington State.

Currently, produce has not been identified as a likely source of COVID-19 infection. However, it is important to follow current food safety standards to help protect workers and customers from this virus.

Current recommendations:

Review and implement your operation’s health policies and procedures, including for:

  • ALL personnel associated with your operations.
  • Contractors, vendors, customers, visitors, inspectors, office and management staff, etc.
  • Anyone who could potentially introduce the virus into a farm or facility.

Encourage sick employees to stay home.

  • Ensure sick leave policies are consistent with public health guidance.

Increase hand hygiene and make sure to have adequately stocked hand wash stations and hand sanitizers as needed. Be sure the following individuals are following your operation’s good hand washing procedures:

  • ALL personnel associated with operations
  • Contractors, vendors, customers, visitors, inspectors, office and management staff, etc.
  • Anyone with the potential to introduce the virus into a farm or facility.

Clean and sanitize

  •  Include all areas that could be touched, including fixtures, sinks and equipment, within the operation, offices and common areas.
  • An EPA list of registered sanitizers that can be used against COVID-19 is available at epa.gov by searching for “EPA’s Registered Antimicrobial Products for Use Against Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, the Cause of COVID-19.” EPA will update the list as needed. If you have questions about your particular sanitizer, read the package label carefully or reach out to your chemical provider.
  •  When disinfecting for COVID-19, EPA recommends following the product label use directions for enveloped viruses, as indicated by the approved emerging viral pathogen claim on the master label. If the directions for viruses/virucidal activity list different contact times or dilutions, use the longest contact time or most concentrated solution.
  • Disinfection concentrations may exceed the levels allowed for use on food contact surfaces, such as equipment and utensils. Follow the label directions for FOOD CONTACT SURFACES when using the chemical near or on utensils and food contact surfaces.
  • Additional information about using disinfectants for COVID-19 is available from the National Pesticide Information Center at npic.orst.edu and searching for COVID-19.

More information:

WSDA Produce Safety Program staff will adhere to the highest standards of personal conduct relating to health and hygiene standards throughout all interactions with the state produce industry.

Please contact the WSDA Produce Safety Program with any questions at ProduceSafety2@agr.wa.gov or at (360) 902-1961.

 

Media Contacts

Faith Critzer, Associate Professor, 509-786-9203