Updated: April 27, 2020
The CDC has released new interim guidance for Meat and Poultry Processing Workers and Employers. While this applies to meat and poultry processing facilities, these recommendations are also applicable throughout the critical food and agriculture industries.
The World Health Organization has released new guidance on immunity from COVID-19. TL;DR – there is no evidence that people with an antibody response are protected from a second infection.
The FDA has put out guidance with fact sheets describing the differences and use of Respirators, Facemasks, and Cloth Face Coverings for the food and agriculture sector. [Guidance Link, Fact Sheet Link]
the Food Industry
Antibody Testing Shows No Evidence of Immunity.
In guidance published Friday by the WHO on adjusting public health and social measures for the next phase of the COVID-19 response, the organization stated:
“Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to the SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an ‘immunity passport’ or ‘risk-free certificate’ that would enable individuals to travel or to return to work assuming that they are protected against re-infection. There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.”
In agreement with the WHO’s statement that those “who assume that they are immune to a second infection because they have received a positive test result may ignore public health advice,” as this could increase the risks of continued transmission. To that end, TAG does not recommend antibody testing of workers. Because there is no scientific evidence showing antibody-related immunity, there would be no relevant action to take from the antibody-specific tests and their results.
Ultimately, TAG recommends caution when deciding on implementing worker testing. Do not test unless you know what the results mean and what you plan to do with said results. As usual, TAG will continue to stay updated on the science and update its recommendations, as things evolve.
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 (email@example.com) for a copy of this poster (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese - simplified, traditional are available).
As of April 27, 2020 (11:22 ET), there are over 2,992,000 cases (>207,000 deaths) worldwide.
Due to the increasing number of cases in the United States, TAG will move from reporting counts per country to focus on the United States, please see here for the data. For further information regarding worldwide numbers, please refer to John Hopkin University’s aggregate map.
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