Baking & Snack - May 2020 - 98

does not present a food safety risk, and we should all be
grateful for that."
Perhaps the biggest hurdle now involves employees
who test positive for COVID-19, who Ms. Burke advised
to stay home and quarantine themselves according to
government guidance.
"The food safety standard requires companies to have
procedures in place to ensure that employees, agency
staff, contractors and visitors are not a source of transmission of foodborne diseases to products," Ms. Burke
observed. "COVID-19 is not thought to be transmitted
through food; however, the principle of medical screening should be extended, and all employees should be assessed for signs of coronavirus infection before starting
work, every day. This may include temperature checks or
fit-to-work declarations."
In these situations, Maile Gradison Hermida, also a
partner with Hogan Lovells, noted that companies may
often find themselves working with suspected - not
confirmed - cases of infection from the virus because
testing still may not be readily available for all cases. As a
result, some jurisdictions may require companies to report both confirmed positives and suspected cases.
She further suggested taking such key steps as informing fellow employees of an ill worker and possible
exposure in the workplace. Additionally, companies
need to exercise caution concerning the confidentiality
of the ill employee. Moreover, businesses should contact
and follow local and state guidelines on any quarantine
protocols for workers, especially those who had close
contact - defined as working within 6 feet - with the
ill employee for a prolonged period of time.
Elizabeth Fawell, another partner with the firm, added that any decision to shut down a facility following a
COVID-19 positive also requires a case-by-case assessment in conjunction with the local health department.

Auditing during the crisis
Since the outbreak, FDA has suspended routine food
safety inspections but is continuing for-cause inspections while providing support and oversight on recalls.
"FDA is only visiting those facilities that are involved
in potential food safety issues like customer complaints
to FDA that may be the result of unsafe food or in the
event facilities initiate a recall," said Earl Arnold, manager, food defense/FSMA quality assurance, North
America, for AIB International.
Two areas of an audit or inspection might be more
Top: Certification standards require companies to follow proper GMPs and take
necessary precautions to ensure food safety.
Bryan Moberly Photography

Bottom: Food auditors are emphasizing basics such as GMPs and the
fundamentals of best practices for production, sanitation and maintenance.
©fotostudiocolor24 - stock.adobe.com

98 Baking & Snack May 2020 / www.bakingbusiness.com


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