Food Safety

Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

These resources are available to industry members and consumers on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and food safety.

FNS Program Guidance on Human Pandemic Response

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is the lead federal agency for federal pandemic response. Federal interagency partners support HHS, as requested, to assist state, local, tribal, and territorial partners in their pandemic preparedness and response activities. In some cases, responding to a public health emergency such as a human pandemic will require social distancing by keeping people from gathering in groups, including keeping children home from school and childcare in order to slow the spread of an infection.

Food Products: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Frequently Asked Questions (FDA)

  • Q: Should food facilities (grocery stores, manufacturing facilities, restaurants, etc.) perform any special cleaning or sanitation procedures for COVID-19?
  • A: CDC recommends routine cleaning of all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label. CDC does not recommend any additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning at this time. Restaurants and retail food establishments are regulated at the state and local level. State, local, and tribal regulators use the Food Code published by the FDA to develop or update their own food safety rules. Generally, FDA-regulated food manufacturers are required to maintain clean facilities, including, as appropriate, clean and sanitized food contact surfaces, and to have food safety plans in place.   Food safety plans include a hazards analysis and risk-based preventive controls and include procedures for maintaining clean and sanitized facilities and food contact surfaces.
  • Q: Is food imported to the United States from China and other countries affected by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), at risk of spreading COVID-19?
  • A: Currently, there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there are no reported cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.
  • Q: Are food products produced in the United States a risk for the spread of COVID-19?
  • A: There is no evidence to suggest that food produced in the United States can transmit COVID-19.
  • Q: Can I get sick with COVID-19 from touching food, the food packaging, or food contact surfaces, if the coronavirus was present on it?
  • A: Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.  Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, it is critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill.
  • Q: Can I get COVID-19 from a food worker handling my food?
  • A: Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. However, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in some communities in the U.S. The CDC recommends that if you are sick, stay home until you are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Anyone handling, preparing and serving food should always follow safe food handling procedures, such as washing hands and surfaces often.

Questions About the Safety of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables in Grocery Stores (Purdue University)

Temporary Allowances for Labels Going to Retail

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is exercising enforcement discretion for a temporary period to provide labeling flexibilities for products intended for food service going to retail. Please find certain situations describing how product can move to retail with certain labeling deviations. Please note, these situations apply to product that has already been produced. Product currently being produced is expected to meet all requirements. FSIS will provide additional information on labeling issues in the future if necessary.