As part is its wide-ranging response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), based in Arlington, Virginia (U.S.) has partnered with the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) to ensure that food supply chain company facilities have access to hand sanitizers that hundreds of distillers are producing.
“Hand sanitizer is an important component in keeping food supply chain facilities clean and disinfected,” said GCCA in a statement.
Acknowledging that hospitals and the medical industry are first in line for the product, “we ask that the food supply industry be one of the next in line,” the statement added.
“GCCA commends and thanks these distilleries and DISCUS for their efforts in helping fight the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” added Megan Costello, GCCA’s Interim President & CEO. “By voluntarily shifting from producing alcohol alone to producing hand sanitizer, they are playing an essential role in helping keep the nation’s food supplies moving. We encourage our members to reach out to a local distillery today.”
DISCUS has launched an online portal to assist distillers who have converted their factories to hand- sanitizer production to help solve the national shortage created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of the food and agriculture sector, GCCA members have been deemed an “essential business and service” under the Presidential Policy Directive 21 (PPD-21) “in recognition of the essential role our members have in keeping the country safe and fed during the coronavirus emergency,” said the GCCA statement.
GCCA’s members, which include third-party logistics companies such as cold storage warehouses and transportation companies, as well as design-build and supply companies, “are a critical link in the cold chain for our food supply,” said GCCA. “Ninety-five percent of the food produced and manufactured in or imported into the United States goes through third-party warehouses and distribution centers before it reaches American consumers.”
GCCA has launched a coronavirus portal with in-depth information on how its members should respond to the pandemic, including a “Rapid Response Guide,”which was updated to Version 5 on March 30.
Among the topics addressed in the guide are the following:
- How do we ensure the safety of the food and our employees?
- Can employers take temperatures of employees as they come into work?
- During shelter-in-place orders, is our industry considered essential critical infrastructure?
- How do our employees prove they are essential critical infrastructure?
- Are there test kits available to my employees?
- Where can we find a COVID-19 Testing Site?
- Who should we contact if one of my employees is suspected of having COVID-19?
- What protocols are recommended for the food industry when an employee/customer tests positive for COVID-19?