During the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been working to support the food and agriculture sector so that Americans have access to the safe and healthy food they need. While most food production and supply chains have been resilient during the pandemic, there are FDA-regulated food establishments that have closed temporarily or face challenges that could lead to closures because of COVID-19. Given this, the FDA has published the guidance: Reporting a Temporary Closure or Significantly Reduced Production by a Human Food Establishment and Requesting FDA Assistance During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.
The guidance provides a mechanism for FDA-regulated establishments (human food facilities and farms), to voluntarily notify the agency of temporary closures and significant reductions in operations, or to request assistance from FDA on issues that might affect the continuity of their operations during the pandemic.
Facilities that manufacture, process, pack, or hold food for consumption in the United States register with the FDA initially and are required to update registration on a biennial basis or within 60 days, if certain changes in operations were to occur. In many cases, the FDA may not be aware that firms are temporarily closed or need to close as a result of the pandemic. More rapid and specific notification regarding the status of FDA-regulated establishments will help the agency understand the current status of the food supply and address challenges food producers are facing during the pandemic.