Every day brings new developments related to respiratory illness from the novel Coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The news headlines and uncertainty can be concerning and confusing. Driscoll’s would like to provide an update on our implementation of preventative measures to ensure we are providing consumers with safe and healthy produce. We are working in partnership with our trade associations including United Fresh Produce Association and Produce Marketing Association (PMA) as well as with our suppliers and independent growers.
We’ve taken the following steps to ensure that we have in place the most appropriate measures to mitigate risk:
• We’re actively monitoring the hygienic and management guidelines provided by official Global and Regional Authorities, including Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). We have also reviewed our internal policies and procedures to ensure that we have the most effective measures in place.
• We’ve requested assessments from key supply chain vendors, including packaging manufacturers, to provide their measures of how they are minimizing risk within their own supply chain. The management of our packaging inventory during this situation includes shifting inventory away from potential risk regions.
• We are revising our visitor practices (internal and external) to limit personnel to key areas of operations including our cooler facilities.
• We’ve reinforced the verification of the rigorous food safety and worker standards already in place within our network of independent growers. These standards include procedures and training that emphasize proper handwashing techniques and guidance to stay home when sick. Learn more about our total commitment to food safety here: LINK.
• We’ve developed internal communications to educate employees on safety, health and hygiene. We are also limiting business travel and including work-from-home options in our response planning.
It is important to note that there is no evidence that fresh produce (or any other food, or other product/material) can transmit the virus. In general, because of poor survivability of coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days at ambient or refrigerated temperatures. For frequently asked questions, please visit this CDC section for timely updates: LINK.
We understand this is a dynamic situation. We will continually adapt to any changes in the situation and related guidelines ensure that we have in place the most appropriate measures mitigate related risks. If you have any questions please contact us.