Updated: August 31, 2020
Tomorrow, with the month of September, comes two important awareness themes for our industry: National Food Safety Education Month and National Preparedness Month. Not only -are food safety and its practices (and ensuring that everyone is knowledgeable of food safety) critical; but, being prepared for crisis situations (like COVID-19) is imperative to continuing a safe and productive food system. To learn more about the two “awareness” events, read our Recommendations for Business. We will tie in more of these in the next month!
The FDA has expanded the EUA for Remdesivir to include all hospitalized patients for treatment of COVID-19. Read the news release from FDA here.
The FDA is warning customers (and production facilities) to be vigilant of “alcohol-based hand sanitizers that are being packaged in containers that may appear as food or drinks and may put consumers at risk of serious injury or death if ingested.” [FDA News Release].
While COVID-19 temporarily suspended FDA inspections, the FDA has resumed on-site food facility inspections. As part of these inspections and bringing compliance with FSMA’s Intentional Adulteration (IA) Rule, the FDA will also begin initiating a post-investigative Food Defense Quick Check discussion as an “education while we regulate” initiative. What does a Quick Check “conversation” involve and how can you be prepared? Find an easy-to-follow infographic and some quick-takes to help you orient yourself and your company, on TAG’s blog from last week, “Are You Ready for a Food Defense Quick Check?”
Recommendations for Industry
What To Look Forward to in September
September is a big month for businesses, particularly for the food industry! As both National Preparedness Month (as declared by the Department of Homeland Security) and National Food Safety Education Month (as declared by the CDC).
National Food Safety Education Month. While focused primarily towards the education of consumers, it is just as (or likely even more) critical that the food industry ensure its workers are fully educated and knowledgeable on all food safety needs of the product being produced. It is a good time to take another look at your food safety policies and practices and ensure they are still being given importance while you continue to deal with the challenges of COVID. If you’ve not already begun instilling a Food Safety Culture within your facility, National Food Safety Month provides a good opportunity to start!
National Preparedness Month is recognized to promote disaster planning, and it is particularly applicable this year as we battle COVID. With a 2020 theme of "Disasters Don't Wait. Make Your Plan Today," Homeland Security’s Ready.gov webpages include a section specifically for businesses, citing preparedness needs for natural hazards (floods, hurricanes, tornadoes; health hazards (widespread, serious illnesses); human-caused hazards (accidents, acts of violence); and technology-related hazards (power outages, equipment failure). Its “Ready Business” section includes a range of linked pages – from Program Management, Administration, and Implementation to Crisis Communication and Business Continuity. The site also provides “toolkits” for the natural hazards and power outages, with sections on identifying the risk, developing a plan, taking action, and “be recognized and inspire others.”
Unfortunately, Homeland Security does not provide one focused toward health hazards, e.g., COVID-19 … Fortunately, TAG does!
While TAG has long provided both food safety and preparedness assistance for businesses, we will be increasing that focus in our own outreach, newsletters and social media as well.
As of August 31, 2020 (10:42 ET), there are over 25,251,000 cases (>846,000 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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