Due to the high number of inquiries received and the continuous developments regarding the virus, TAG is offering COVID-19 Retainer Packages to businesses concerned with the impact of this outbreak.
Request a quote below or call us: 1-800-401-2239
Updated: March 27, 2020
Next week, we will continue addressing frequently asked questions. Today, we would like to remind everyone of a few points:
The virus is not transmitted through food or food packaging.
The food and agriculture sectors are considered Critical Infrastructure.
Have you reviewed your illness and exclusion policies, recently? If not, right now is the time!
While the virus is not transmitted through food, food safety (preparation, storing, consuming) is still important and must be practiced
Properly washing hands with soap is effective against viral particles. Don’t forget to wash for 20 seconds, use soap, scrub between the finger webbings! Read more here (link) on how soap is effective against SARS-CoV-2.
Actively screen employees and enact social distancing practices in your business, amongst employees, and with customers. TAG’s social distancing poster is now available in English, Spanish, French, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional).
Masks are not necessarily protective; in fact, they can potentially increase risk. Read more in our Recommendations for Industry.
the Food Industry
How Mask Usage Can Increase Risk.
TAG is frequently asked if it would be advantageous for workers to wear face masks (e.g. surgical masks or even homemade masks) to reduce personal risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Except for healthcare workers for whom N95 respirators are highly recommended and are used properly, in most cases, face masks will likely be of little benefit in the work environment. In fact, wearing a face could increase risk.
Surgical style masks do not significantly reduce the risk of contracting the virus. Although they are fluid-resistant, surgical masks only provides the user with protection against large droplets, splashes, or sprays of bodily or other hazardous fluids. Additionally, while surgical masks can protect others from the user’s respiratory emissions, they do not filter/protect against small airborne particles. The mask itself is loose-fitting and does not have a face seal, therefore leakage of air can occur around the edge of the mask and be non-protective. One surgical face mask manufacturer states that, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, its masks are available for use in hospitals and by healthcare providers without objection from the FDA when FDA-approved masks are unavailable. However, while, when properly worn, it may reduce potential exposure to blood and body fluids, surgical masks do not eliminate the risk of contracting any disease or infection.
By attempting to enforce mask usage, you and your company may encounter some unnecessary risks, including giving employees a false sense of protection. Thinking they may be protected simply by a mask, employees may reduce adherence to virus-safety practices such as social distancing, eliminating contact, increasing handwashing, etc., thereby engaging in more risky behaviors (e.g. less social distancing, face-touching, etc.). Similarly, if your operation is customer-facing and you wish for customers to “see” that you are doing everything you can to “protect” them by wearing masks, you may be running the risk of giving both employee and customers a false send of security that may increase risk-taking behaviors.
On the other hand, if your goal is to protect customers or workers from a potentially ill employee, the masks would provide more efficacy. To be clear, sick individuals should not be working. But, since surgical masks protects those around the wearer from larger respiratory droplets from the wearer, there would be less droplet transmission from the person coughing, sneezing, or even talking. This is exactly why when you go to a clinic or medical office, these operations ask individuals with illness symptoms to wear a mask in the waiting room.
One caveat, for which there could be some rationale to wearing a mask, is the potential reduction in risk if someone is asymptomatic 24-48 hours before illness onset. In cases in which someone arrives ill or becomes ill at work and is awaiting a ride home (or unable to leave immediately), it may be useful to have some masks on-hand for temporary use by those individuals.
If, for whatever reason, you have determined that your staff will wear face masks, we highly encourage employee training on proper donning, doffing, and disposal; why you are requiring them; and the continued need for social distancing and increased hand hygiene despite wearing a mask. As explained by WHO, masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent handwashing, and proper use and disposal, to include:
Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
Everyone should practice social distancing (more specifically, physical distancing), not only those who are ill or at higher-risk (e.g. older individuals, pre-existing conditions) but also among healthy individuals so we may "flatten the curve".
Please feel free to use this free poster at your establishment. Please email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a copy of this poster (English, Spanish, French, and Chinese - simplified, traditional are available).
Keep up to date with COVID-19:
Please send us any questions, comments, and/or concerns! We are happy to talk with you.
OR call us at 1-800-401-2239
Learn how TAG can help your company ensure food safety and brand protection.
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