COVID-19 and Dairy Food Safety
Food safety auditing has been deemed an essential service, and TDIA is continuing to maintain business as usual at this time.
It is important during this period that our consumers and overseas markets continue to have confidence in Tasmania's dairy products.
All licensed dairy manufacturers and producers in Tasmania are required to have a food safety program that documents procedures to manage hazards associated with dairy food production.
The existing procedures in these food safety programs (such as cleaning and sanitation and personal hygiene procedures, including worker health requirements) are designed to control the risk of contamination of food with pathogens (including viruses) that may compromise food safety.
During the COVID-19 pandemic it is important that food premises:
- Ensure normal hygiene and sanitation protocols are reinforced and diligently maintained
- Ensures normal food safety controls are maintained and monitored.
- Manage the potential for entry of the virus into the food processing environmental by strictly enforcing ill worker exclusion procedures (ensure that staff are aware of COVID-19 symptoms)
- Reinforce the necessity of good hygienic practices with staff, especially hand washing, and provides ample supplies of hand sanitiser and hand washing supplies
- Minimise the potential for transmission of the virus between workers by implementing social distancing
- Ensures any social distancing or other COVID-19 mitigation measures do not compromise food safety controls
Reinforcing these procedures and ensuring that they are strictly enforced at this time is imperative.
There has been NO evidence of the transmission of COVID-19 through food or food packaging. Further information on COVID-19 and food safety is available from FSANZ, EFSA and FDA.
- The US EPA maintains a list of disinfectants effective for use against COVID-19. However, it is important to ensure that these are suitable and approved for use in food manufacturing in Australia.
- Dairy Australia has also provided useful information on COVID-19 on their website.
Protecting your employees
The primary consideration for employers is to take actions to protect other employees that may have come in contact with an ill employee.
Where a worker experiences symptoms they should contact the Tamanian Public Health Hotline on 1800 671 738 or the go to the Tasmania Government Coronavirus website for advice.
Separate advice for employers is provided by the Australian Government Department of Health.
The government guidelines for restrictions on those who have been in close contact (as defined by DHHS) with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 would apply where appropriate.