some woman wearing a mask grading bread

Contributed by ABM

When the pandemic began, numerous food processing facilities were in the spotlight for being infection hotspots. In May of 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that COVID-19 cases were reported in 115 food processing facilities. As of mid-September, that number has risen to 793. Many operators are still wrestling with meeting production demands while addressing the need for consistent, effective disinfection programs.

Food processors need reliable ways to give customers and employees assurances that they’re actively working to create healthier facilities and protect the safety of their products. Without that assurance, employee absenteeism threatens production and customer wariness undermines demand. Implementing social distancing and more frequent cleaning is a start, but as the pandemic endures, a more holistic approach is needed.

Implementing Guidance from Health and Safety Organizations

The CDC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Occupational Safety and Health Organization (OSHA) have provided guidance on operating safe food processing facilities, which is continually updated. The challenge is for operators to practically implement that guidance and meet consumer demand. Food processors need a disinfection program that is shaped by experts who understand the needs of food manufacturing facilities and how to apply infection control guidance in them.

A reliable disinfection vendor will be in tune with the latest guidance from the CDC, FDA and OSHA, and will implement a multi-pronged approach to creating a healthy facility. Look for vendors who certify that their processes, training, and equipment meet standards set by experts in infectious disease control and industrial hygiene.

With their guidance and partnership, managers can implement a disinfection program that takes every aspect of the facility into consideration – from touchless fixtures to broader disinfection that addresses the entire workspace, not just high-touch points. Expert-backed disinfection protocols give customers and employees peace of mind that companies are committed to producing safe products in healthy facilities.

Article contributed by Lane Williams, vice president of sales at ABM.