Yamato has and will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation. We are taking every precaution to ensure safety for both staff and consumers. Please take time to read an important and timely post from the Food and Drug Administration. The information applies to various aspects of the food packaging industry, from labeling, packaging and consuming.
Summary of “Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)” (released March 27, 2020).
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration released a guidance document. In addition to “Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)”, the FDA provides “Guidance for Industry: Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Certain Packaged Food During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency”. The document provides restaurants and food manufacturers with flexibility regarding nutrition labeling of certain packaged food.
Food Packaging and COVID-19
Fortunately, the FDA reports: “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.” In addition, the “CDC notes that in general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures.”
Safety is top priority at Yamato and throughout the world. In addition, it’s essential to stick to the steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness. Then, the FDA does “not believe there is a need to conduct environmental testing in food settings for the virus that causes COVID 19 for the purpose of food safety. Cleaning and sanitizing the surfaces is a better use of resources than testing to see if the virus is present.”
Yamato facilities are required to follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs). Maintaining CGMPs in the facility should minimize the potential for surface contamination and eliminate contamination when it occurs. In addition, “FDA-regulated food manufacturers are required to follow Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) and many have food safety plans that include a hazards analysis and risk-based preventive controls. CGMPs and food safety plans have requirements for maintaining clean and sanitized facilities and food contact surfaces. Additionally, for more details, check out: FSMA Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food.
For food manufacturers that have inventory on hand-labeled for use in restaurants, the FDA asks that packaging contains the following required information on the label (below).
FDA Requirements for Labeling Information:
- First, Statement of identity
- Next, Ingredient statement
- Then, Name and place of business of the food manufacturer, packer, or distributor
- Net quantity of contents
- Finally, Allergen information required by the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act
In addition, the “FDA intends to work cooperatively with manufacturers for the remainder of the year regarding using updated Nutrition and Supplement Facts labels and will not focus on enforcement actions during this time.”
Finally, Yamato wishes you all safe living throughout and beyond this unusual time. Take care of yourself, take care of each other: we will make it through. For further reading, take a look at “Guidance for Industry: Temporary Policy Regarding Nutrition Labeling of Certain Packaged Food During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency“.