Washington — While city and state governments have placed restrictions on mass gatherings, and some candymakers report being pressured into shutting down production, NCA is working aggressively to protect the industry at the federal and state levels.
Today NCA is signing on to a letter being sent to the White House by the collective food industry that will call on the administration to enforce the exemption for food manufacturing and production from curfews and limitations on public gatherings.
“As we all know, manufacturing facilities are not areas of ‘public gathering,’ but are heavily controlled environments that are regularly inspected and operate under strict food safety requirements, exemplify good manufacturing practices and exercise rigorous hygienic protocols,” says NCA President & CEO John Downs.
The Association notes guidance from the European Food Safety Authority and FDA state there is no evidence that coronavirus can be transmitted through foods.
On Monday a White House task force referred to the food supply as part of the “nation’s critical infrastructure,” and is not subject to the same recommendations and guidelines as those issued for other industries and social gatherings. Further, the Department of Homeland Security said critical infrastructure industries have a special responsibility to maintain… (a) “normal work schedule” and encouraged companies to follow CDC guidance to protect the health of their workers.
“NCA has been working with our food industry allies in Washington to gain even further clarity and an assurance from the government that our factories can continue to operate as necessary to produce and distribute food,” Downs says. “After extensive advocacy on the part of the collective food industry, I am pleased to report that Frank Yiannas, the FDA deputy commissioner for food policy and response, will address food industry associations on a webinar later today. He is expected to reiterate how critical it is for food manufacturing to remain in operation during the national emergency.”
Yiannas has also tweeted out a link to a FDA’s Q&A covering the food supply at this time.
Earlier this week, Downs applauded the leadership of Governors Tom Wolf, of Pennsylvania, and Ohio’s Mike DeWine for proactively naming food manufacturing as an essential service and for allowing production to continue even as other industries and services were shuttered.
“There is no question that we are in the midst of an unprecedented, complex situation,” Downs says. “There is no roadmap to help the nation and the world navigate this unusual event. However, at times like these, our industry’s contribution to the food manufacturing sector should not be overlooked, and we will work to ensure the proper protections are in place to allow you to continue your operations as you see fit.”