On March 10th, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it is postponing most foreign inspections through April, effective immediately. Inspections deemed mission-critical will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The agency reached this decision as a result of travel advisories involving U.S. Government employees as well as restrictions imposed on foreign visitors by certain countries. Another aspect considered in this decision is the ability the agency has to maintain oversight over international manufactures and imported products using alternative tools and methods, such as the refusal admission of products that fail sample testing or may violate other applicable legal requirements. The agency advised that inspections will resume as soon as possible.
In addition, some questions continue to arise regarding the virus’s impact on the food supply chain. Although it is possible to transmit COVID –19 through surfaces, it is highly unlikely that transmission through food or food packaging would occur and as of February 27, there have been no reports of transmission through food or packaging.
According to the World Health Organization, it is safe to receive packages from areas with known COVID – 19 illnesses.
The COVID-19 outbreak may potentially cause disruption to business operations. Therefore, planning and preparing to prevent the spread of the virus is key to significantly minimizing potential impacts.
Western Growers encourage you to click the links below for updates related to this outbreak. The best way to protect yourself and help contain this virus is through proper hygiene practices. Feel free to contact our Science/Tech Staff if you are experiencing any issues or have any questions related to the virus’s impact on the food supply chain.
CDC COVID – 19 Situation Summary
FDA COVID – 19 Situation Report – March 2, 2020
FDA STATEMENT – March 10, 2020