ELIZABETHTOWN, PENN. - The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) has outlined growing concern about the possibility of the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) as the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) makes rounds between plants on daily assignments.
In response, AAMP has made several protocol suggestions to FSIS, and encourages processing plants ask inspectors to follow those steps.
AAMP suggests that inspectors use a separate frock for each plant visit and leave the frock in the plant it is being used in. The association points out that FSIS may not have enough frocks available to do that, so plants may need to offer one up for inspector use.
The organization also suggests that plants ask inspectors to sanitize their helmet before entering the plant to perform duties. Plants should be prepared to provide sanitizer for inspectors.
While the chances are low of COVID-19 spreading from one plant to another on an inspector’s frock or helmet, the possibility is there.
AAMP has also requested that FSIS limits the number of personnel sent to plants to only those doing essential inspection duties, and the association was told that the agency is trying to limit personnel.
“As we move forward during this challenging time it is vital for the industry and FSIS to continue to work closely together to accomplish the work before us,” said Chris Young, executive director of AAMP. “There is a high demand for the products you produce, and everyone is working long hours to supply the needs of your customers. Let’s practice patience and understanding with each other during this time as we will all be better for it.”
AAMP has compiled a list of COVID-19 resources for meat processors that can found here.