Tag Archives: Senator Edward J. Markey

The FDA publishes new supermarkets, food retail safety guidelines to protect workers, customers | Instant News


Almost one month after President Trump announced a coronavirus national emergency, and three weeks before he wants to reopen many countriesThe Food and Drug Administration has announced a complete list best practice to protect workers and consumers in important businesses that feed Americans during a pandemic when everyone should keep their distance.

Many guidelines confirm existing practices or are considered a routine part of the food business – socially excluded, not touching the face, standard food safety procedures – but they also emphasize what companies must do to protect employees and maintain a safe workplace. during the ongoing outbreak. The FDA advises employers to assess workers’ health before they start work, including temperature checks. Employees must wear masks, keep a distance of six feet from coworkers and assess their own health throughout the day.

If an employee is sick at work, the FDA recommends a protocol to try to prevent the spread of the virus and avoid what happens at the Smithfield Foods processing plant in South Dakota, which closed this week after 80 employees are confirmed to have coronavirus. Agency protocols include cleaning and disinfecting the work stations of infected employees; recognize that all employees within six feet of an infected worker may have been exposed; and notifying fellow employees of their possible exposure while maintaining confidentiality. In particular, FDA guidelines include contract workers, who are not considered formal employees, such as driver for food delivery companies.

The agency recommends that employees wear gloves and masks at all times, while asking employers to stop “salad bars, buffets and beverage service stations that require customers to use public equipment or dispensers.” The FDA also encourages retail stores to find ways to keep a distance of six feet among customers on the checkout lane or while waiting for service.

However, because FDA authorities are limited to food safety, agencies cannot ask restaurants, retail stores, and other stores to limit the number of customers who enter their companies. This requirement must originate from local jurisdiction. This week, the D.C. government mandated that supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, dining rooms, and other companies limit the number of customers to maintain a distance of six feet between people. Montgomery County in Maryland issued a similar order, and other jurisdictions, such as the city of Miami, has mandated that buyers wear face masks, such as grocery chains reporting the death of their first employee related to coronavirus.

An FDA spokesman said the agency’s new guidelines were not a response to Senator Edward J. Markey’s letter (D-Mass.) sent this week. “We will respond directly to the Senator,” the spokesman, Peter Cassell, wrote in an email.

The senator’s Tuesday letter the head of the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on agencies “to issue and promote clear guidelines for workers in the retail food industry and their customers.” CDC also updates safety guidelines this week. The Senator said he was moved to act after interacting with a supermarket worker who “may be more exposed than almost anyone outside our medical community with hundreds of people every day, one of whom can have the corona virus.”

However, the latest FDA guidelines are not a mandate, which is preferred by Markey. They still submit safety decisions to individual businesses.

“The new guidelines that have passed are an improvement from the minimal information provided by the FDA and the previous CDC, but the Trump administration must do more to promote these resources for employers, employees and consumers, and must ensure that businesses implement the protection of these workers,” Markey wrote. in a statement.

“Our frontline workers in the grocery store and in the retail food industry allow families and businesses to survive this pandemic, and we owe them to provide the resources they need to protect their lives and public health.”

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Retail food workers need better safety guidelines, Senator Markey said | Instant News


Large supermarket chains and food retailers still need to recruit thousands of new employees to meet increasing demand while, at the same time, dealing with the current workforce who want more wages and better protection to protect them against jobs that can really their living expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees at the food retailer say, repeatedly, that they need a safer workplace to continue to meet the demands of Americans who are stuck at home with their mouths to be fed, and these workers have been willing to resign from work to prove their intentions. But retailers, whether Instacart or Walmart or Whole Foods, insist they have protected workers. Supermarkets and other food retailers have adopted new procedures (checking employee temperatures, maintaining six feet of space in the checkout lane) and / or modifying their physical properties by installing plexiglass glass barriers between consumers and workers.

But the fact that there are still clashes between employees and employers over the safety of coronavirus tells Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) Almost everything he needs to know: There are no clear guidelines from government agencies about how to protect workers – and customers – during ongoing pandemic. On Tuesday, Markey sent a letter to the head of the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “issue and promote clear guidelines for workers in the retail food industry and their customers.”

As the coronavirus epidemic continued to change lives in the United States, Markey focused more on frontline workers. He did not limit his definition to those in health care, transportation and postal services. The idea of ​​frontline workers includes, among others, grocery store employees, restaurant workers, delivery drivers and anyone who provides “important or primary public services.” Last week, Markey sent a letter to the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, on the grounds that these workers need personal protective equipment (masks, gloves, hand sanitizers), even though there are widespread shortage of PPE (fund the federal inventory cache apparently still waiting to get to the right hands).

“Many of these workers have many close contacts with other employees, customers and the public, putting them at a higher risk for coronavirus infection,” Markey wrote in his letter to the White House and FEMA. “Without the ability to do the right physical distance and PPE, these workers face significant dangers.”

The senator’s letter to the CDC and the FDA noted, “When we enter a long period of social distance during the coronavirus pandemic, best practices governing interactions in grocery stores and during food delivery are more important than ever.” He writes that federal agencies have provided some guidance, for food industry and consumer, but they are not far enough.

“The guidelines ultimately leave decisions regarding the appropriateness of workers’ protection of retail food companies themselves,” Markey wrote. “The current guidelines do not allow our key workers and consumers.”

Markey has been one of many lawmakers who pushed President Trump to implement all the powers of the Defense Production Act to increase the manufacture of respirators, gloves and other PPE, but he said that private meetings at supermarkets opened his eyes to the threats faced by the this worker.

“There is a woman at the checkout,” Markey told The Washington Post in an interview Tuesday. “He just worked hard, but without any protection. I feel that he may be more exposed than almost everyone outside our medical community to hundreds of people every day, one of whom has coronavirus. At the same time, he or his coworkers can send it back to people who have come through the checkpoint. I said to myself, “This makes absolutely no sense.”

“These workers are risking their lives every day to provide important items for their customers,” Markey added. “We must do everything in our power to ensure these important workers have the resources and support they need to feel safe doing their jobs.”

In pursuit of more comprehensive guidelines, Markey in his letter asked federal agencies to answer the following questions on April 17:

  1. Please explain what actions the CDC and FDA have taken to address safety concerns related to coronavirus for workers in the retail food industry. What are the CDC and FDA plans to improve and promote the guidelines?
  2. Please identify the guidelines issued by the CDC or FDA for consumers on how to protect yourself from the corona virus when shopping for food or receiving food delivery? Does the CDC or FDA plan to issue additional or expanded guidelines in this area? If so, when? If not, why not? Please explain all efforts to promote this guide to the public.
  3. The FDA has noted that social distance is not possible in certain food industry facilities. What steps are the CDC or FDA taking to protect workers who cannot comply with social distance guidelines?
  4. What steps does the CDC or FDA take to ensure that food retailers and delivery services comply with guidelines on protecting the safety of workers and consumers?

Markey said he wanted guidelines that were more than just recommendations. “I want it to be something that must be adopted throughout the industry,” he said. “From my point of view, they must be mandated. We know this is a best practice, and the only way we will defeat an enemy as strong as the corona virus is by adopting best practices. “

But how do you allocate PPE to retail food workers and delivery drivers when there isn’t enough for health workers?

“I think minimal, [agencies] must provide better guidance on the types of PPE to use and when, “Markey said. “I think they have to hand it over to employers so workers are better protected, and I think they must take steps to ensure companies comply with the guidelines. But at a minimum, there must be some kind of PPE provided to protect workers. “

Asked if he was willing to allocate money to help these companies buy PPE equipment to protect their workers, Markey replied, “If necessary.”

“But I think many of these companies are still doing good business now,” he said, “and part of doing business at the moment is to provide protection to workers.”

Read more at With friendly:

Restaurants stepped in to feed hospital workers at the forefront of a pandemic

Food delivery can help maintain social distance, although some drivers worry about their health

Famous farmer and activist Joel Salatin was hit back for saying: “I want a coronavirus!”

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