Trade Group Press US Officials to Keep Plants Open

March 19, 2020

4 Min Read
Trade Group Press US Officials to Keep Plants Open
Food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods trade groups urged US officials to keep manufacturing plants open during the COVID-19 crisis. Image courtesy of Pixabay

About 60 industry associations – including the Consumer Brands Association (CBA), American Bakers Association, and the American Sugar Alliance – published a letter to federal, state, and local officials in the US on Wednesday to exempt workers at food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods production facilities from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines limiting gatherings of people. 

“Some states have clearly exempted food, beverage, and consumer packaged goods manufacturing facilities (e.g. those manufacturing cleaning supplies, paper goods, personal care products, etc.), while others have not,” the organizations wrote. “This lack of uniformity is leading to significant confusion and could further deteriorate if a level of consistency across states and municipalities is not achieved quickly.”

The letter asked federal and state officials to create a “unified, clear and public” framework to prevent human and animal food and consumer packaging goods facilities and food transportation operations from closing or having reduced staff because of gathering and curfew bans. Trade associations that drafted the letter contend that factories are not “public gathering” areas with existing food safety requirements, hygienic protocols, and good manufacturing practices. 

“Gathering restrictions and curfews are critical for protecting Americans and helping to flatten the curve, but the unintended consequences of those efforts could be detrimental to the production of essential goods for our fellow Americans,” CBA President and Chief Executive Officer Geoff Freeman said in a release. “Our industry is working around the clock to manufacture the products Americans need now more than ever. Our supply chain and production capabilities are strong and they will remain strong so long as we are permitted to operate at full capacity.”

The novel coronavirus has been impacting the global food industry since the outbreak began in China in late 2019. Since the virus began spreading in the US, the FDA and USDA have taken a number of steps to ensure that the food supply remains strong in America. Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued guidance on how to respond to COVID-19 in US workplaces

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