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. COVID-19 has not been reported to be any more resistant than other viruses or bacterial agents of concern to food safety and as such should be adequately managed by these policies and procedures.
- Food safety programs also address and manage the hazards associated with ill workers in a food manufacturing environment. These procedures include exclusion of personnel suffering from illness and may include heightened cleaning and sanitation efforts to minimise risk of transmission (irrespective of the type of illness).
Reinforcing these procedures and ensuring that they are strictly enforced at this time is imperative.
- The primary consideration for employers is to take actions to protect other employees that may have come in contact with the ill employee. Where a worker experiences symptoms, they should seek advice from the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Service. 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.