Food Safety During the Pandemic
There’s a lot of focus right now on our North American food supply during this pandemic. Understandably, some questions have come up about food safety and I am happy to say that though our food supply may be challenged by this pandemic, our food supply is safe.
Making safe food is a top priority for Maple Leaf Foods and our subsidiary Greenleaf Foods every day we operate. Just as we did before this pandemic, we are practicing scrupulous sanitation as we dedicate hours each day to a top-to-bottom cleanup of each plant. Like you might disassemble your food processor to clean it properly, we disassemble the large equipment we use in our plants to chop, blend, slice and package products so that we can clean every inch with a disinfecting spray foam and hot water.
Our team members always wear extensive protective equipment to ensure that our plants are sanitary. They wear gloves, boots, aprons, hard hats, hair nets and face coverings. And, they wash their hands and their booths multiple times a day to maintain the highest level of cleanliness.
At the same time, federal inspectors continue to inspect our products and processes to ensure they are safe. If an inspector has a concern, he or she can act quickly to prevent food from entering commerce.
But here’s the good news. We have a long history of making safe food and COVID-19 doesn’t change this. Food safety authorities in Canada and the U.S. have said clearly, "Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission".
Because COVID-19 can be transmitted person to person, we are taking extra steps in our plants to protect our people from spreading it to each other. But our meat, poultry and plant-based protein products remain as safe today as they were before this pandemic.
Remember, though: always, handle our products according to recommended safe handling practices included on the package. And remember to wash your hands thoroughly with warm, soapy water before and after preparing food.
As we all come together to battle this pandemic, we hope our products are a source of nutrition, enjoyment and good health for you and your families.
To read more about food safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit these helpful government food safety links:
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency Statement on Food Safety and the Coronavirus
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration Statement on Food Safety and the Coronavirus
- U.S. Department of Agriculture Statement on Food Safety and the Coronavirus
Contributed by: Randy Huffman, Ph.D., Chief Food Safety and Sustainability Officer, Maple Leaf Foods