The FDA and USDA have released recommendations to help address shortages of personal protective equipment, cloth face coverings, disinfectants and sanitation supplies in the food and agriculture industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. Constraints on these supplies are causing concerns about the potential for interruptions in the food supply chain, according to an update issued by the FDA. These supplies are critical for worker safety, the continuity of the food supply, food safety, and employee and consumer confidence.
The recommendations call for the prioritization of supplies, first to the health care, public health and emergency services sectors, and then to the food and agriculture sector (as well as other critical infrastructures). The recommendations provide information on potential sourcing of supplies, including through private sector suppliers and state emergency management agencies. They also include information that food and agriculture stakeholders should provide when ordering or requesting these supplies.
Companies should make all efforts to identify alternatives to medical-grade PPE, disinfectants and sanitation supplies.