We are living in trying times. By now we know you’ve heard from many businesses about how they are responding to COVID-19. We want to assure you that we are determined to continue our role of connecting households and communities to Good Food, while also implementing best practices to keep you and your customers, our food supply, and our staff safe.
COVID-19 Sanitation Procedures
While CDC, FDA, and USDA are not aware of any reports at this time that suggest that COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging, we’re working every day to make sure that our sanitation, food handling, transportation, and staff health and hygiene practices exceed requirements and demonstrate our commitment to a culture of food safety and quality. Here’s a little more about what we’re doing:
> We wash our hands frequently – constantly – and use gloves when handling food. All packing surfaces in our warehouse are food grade and are cleaned and sanitized before and after each use. We’re adjusting our schedules and daily routines to ensure plenty of time for intentional cleaning and disinfecting.
> Our reusable bags are cleaned when they are returned, discarded if they show any signs of damage, and given at least a one-week resting period before repacking. Meat and dairy bags are cleaned and sanitized when returned, then given the same resting period. This resting period greatly exceeds the CDC guidelines for ensuring that viral transmission via surface contact isn’t possible.
> We have increased cleaning and surface sanitizing throughout our office, warehouse, and trucks. Our staff are provided with face masks which they wear throughout the workday. Our drivers wash and sanitize their hands and vehicles frequently, and wear disposable gloves during delivery.
> We minimize in-person interactions in the workplace and practice social distancing. While we’re grateful for the outpouring of volunteer support during this difficult time, we’re also requiring all volunteers to complete sanitation training and follow strict guidelines to ensure everyone’s safety.
> We offer paid sick leave to all of our staff, and make sure that everyone feels empowered and obligated to speak up and stay home if they don’t feel well.
> We’re also communicating closely with our family of local farmers and producers to make sure they have the information and resources they need to ensure safe growing, harvesting, and transportation practices. Finally, we’re monitoring new guidance from CDC, FDA, USDA, and Virginia Cooperative Extension and adjusting our practices as necessary.
We’re all in this together, and we’re all dedicated to demonstrating that when our communities need help, our local food system is ready to answer the call. If you have any questions, concerns, or feedback on our COVID-19 response, please contact us.
Local food systems literally and figuratively feed communities—they drive economies, create connections, provide nourishment, and employ countless people, from farm laborers to dishwashers. Now, more than ever, it is critical to support small farmers, the backbone of so many small businesses and so much in our community.
In addition to continuing our delivery services, 4P Foods is also mobilizing an extensive coalition of regional partners to make sure that you, your neighbors, kids who rely on school meals, older adults, people who are home-bound, and everyone in need is able to access food – good, nourishing food, and plenty of it – while schools and institutions are closed to slow the spread of coronavirus. We are activating schools, food banks, kitchens, delivery vehicles, and more to mobilize the supply chain that will get food to people who need it in the immediate term and beyond.
Soon we will share news of the greater regional response plan. In the meantime, check out our press release for more details. Let’s keep caring for ourselves, each other, and eating our veggies!
Peas & love,
Tom and the 4P Family
UPDATE – April 9, 2020
In the days since this blog post was first written, the 4P Foods team and our partners have been hard at work helping feed the most vulnerable members of our community – from farmers to urban families. We’re helping to lead the Mid-Atlantic Food Resilience and Access Coalition (MAFRAC) to address the weaknesses in our food system exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. From empowering local organizations, food banks, and institutions to helping small farms and companies connect to people who need good food, MAFRAC is behind so many food access success stories. Visit mafrac.com and read about our Emergency Food + Farm Fund for Greater DMV/VA to learn how you can help.