If you missed the FDA’s March 18 briefing to food stakeholders on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the food industry, here are seven top-line takeaways on immediate impacts to F&B businesses, according to EAS Consulting Group:

  1. There has been NO evidence of the transmission of the coronavirus from food or food packaging.
  2. Food products do not have to be placed on-hold or recalled if an employee at a food facility is diagnosed with COVID-19.
  3. Personal hygiene as well as facility, equipment, and utensil cleaning and sanitization procedures that are required in GMPs are expected to still be appropriate amid this crisis.
  4. The FDA will be exercising enforcement discretion regarding the requirements for on-site supplier facility audits needed to comply with the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP) Rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FDA). This policy is provided in the new FDA Guidance for Industry, Temporary Policy Regarding Preventive Controls and FSVP Food Supplier Verification Onsite Audit Requirements During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, to communicate FDA’s intention to temporarily not enforce FSVP supplier verification on-site audit requirements for receiving facilities and importers under FSMA in response to the global pandemic of COVID-19.
  5. Routine foreign inspections were postponed earlier this month and only “mission critical” inspections will be conducted as deemed necessary.
  6. Now routine domestic inspections will also be postponed and only “mission critical” inspections will be conducted as necessary in cases where there is Class I Recall, a foodborne outbreak, or COVID-19 related situation.
  7. Ensuring a continuous supply of safe food is a critical factor for the US and the FDA and Department of Homeland Security are working together to ensure that is the case. Food facilities involved in this supply, are therefore not subject to the quarantine and shelter in place orders and any issues with this should be addressed to the latter and FEMA.

About EAS Consulting Group

EAS Consulting Group, a member of the Certified family of companies, is a global leader in regulatory solutions for industries regulated by FDA, USDA, and other federal and state agencies. Our network of over 150 independent advisors and consultants enables EAS to provide comprehensive consulting, training and auditing services, ensuring proactive regulatory compliance for food, dietary supplements, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cosmetics, tobacco, hemp and CBD.

Click here for more COVID-19 coverage and how it is affecting the refrigerated and frozen foods industry.