ELIZABETHTOWN, PENN. – The American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP) has outlined growing concern about the possibility of the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as inspectors from the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) visit multiple plants as part of their daily assignments. 

In response, AAMP has made several protocol suggestions to FSIS, and encouraged processing plant operators to require inspectors to follow procedures to ensure the safety of inspected facilities.  

AAMP suggested inspectors use a separate frock for each plant visit and leave the frock in the plant it is being used in. The association said FSIS may not have enough frocks available, so plants may need to make them available for inspectors. 

The organization also suggests plants ask inspectors to sanitize their helmets before entering the plant to perform duties. Plant operators should be prepared to provide sanitizer to inspectors, AAMP said. 

While the chances are low of COVID-19 spreading from one plant to another on an inspector’s frock or helmet, taking precautions is prudent. 

“As we move forward during this challenging time it is vital for the industry and FSIS to continue to work closely together to accomplish the work before us,” said Chris Young, executive director of AAMP. “There is a high demand for the products you produce, and everyone is working long hours to supply the needs of your customers. Let’s practice patience and understanding with each other during this time as we will all be better for it.” 

AAMP compiled a list of COVID-19 resources for meat processors that can found here