So I want to start out by saying this article was created by the National Coffee Association and it is centered around Coffee and COVID-19. As a small business The Coffee box and its drive thru only concept seems to be the ideal fit for a global Pandemic.
The mission of the National Coffee Association's Covid-19 Resource Center is to provide the most up-to-date information on the new coronavirus (and the disease it causes, COVID-19) to coffee industry members so that your business, customers, and consumers can mitigate risk and weather this public health crisis.
Good News Coffee is an Essential Service
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) provided guidance on what industries and job types may be considered critical infrastructure – coffee is indicated as essential critical infrastructure. The NCA was part of a coalition of allied partners in getting the guidance issued by DHS.
The NCA created a safe passage letter template for critical infrastructure employees that companies - after consulting with counsel - may choose to use for their workers. They should put their own company’s letterhead on the document and make a decision as to whether their business is deemed essential critical infrastructure based on an assessment of their business activities and following guidance provided by federal, state, and local authorities.
Is Coffee & Other Foods Safe?
Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19.
Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.
However, it’s always critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness.
Is Coffee Safe to Buy?
Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. CDC notes that in general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures. It is more likely that a person will be exposed by person-to-person transmission involving close contact with someone who is ill or shedding the virus.
Consumers can follow CDC guidelines on how to protect yourself, especially the advice on frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; and frequent cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces.
If you are concerned about contamination of food and food packaging you have purchased from the grocery store, wash your hands after handling food and food packages when you return from the grocery store and after removing packaging from food. In addition, it’s always critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness. FDA also has advice about safely selecting and serving raw produce.