Published: April 1, 2020
Revised: April 14, 2020
Introduction Food retailers play a critical role in protecting public health, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) consider the food supply chain as “critical infrastructure” and food industry employees as “essential.” During these extraordinary times, grocery stores must maintain a clean and sanitary facility to ensure the health and well-being of all customers and employees.
Cleaning and sanitation procedures for frequently touched surfaces can help protect customers and employees from COVID-19. While some grocery stores are limiting store hours to thoroughly clean and disinfect their entire store before opening the follow morning (i.e., deep clean), others are more aggressively cleaning and sanitizing high touch surfaces throughout the day to reduce the risk of transmission.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides practical guidance on cleaning and disinfection procedures to control infectious viruses, such as the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). While coronavirus is not known to be transmitted through food or food packaging, coronavirus particles can survive on common, high-touch surfaces, such as stainless steel, shopping cart handles or door handles. The CDC recommends routine cleaning and disinfection using EPA-registered disinfectants that are effective against SARS-CoV-2.
Cleaning and disinfection activities must be:
- Validated to ensure effective removal of SARS-CoV-2.
- Utilizing EPA-registered antimicrobial chemicals.
- Communicated with the local health department.
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