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Essential Businesses for a Safe Food Supply

March 17, 2020 12:00 AM
By: Admin

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Download a printable PDF version of this guidance.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recognizes the critical role production agriculture, agribusinesses, food processors and manufacturers, retailers, and the entire distribution and support network from farm to table play in assuring a safe, reliable food supply.

The PA Department of Agriculture has developed the following guidelines for essential businesses to help ensure a safe and accessible food supply during the COVID-19 mitigation efforts. Examples of essential businesses for a safe food supply include farms, greenhouses and vegetable plants, orchards, pest management services, feed mills and ag supply businesses, agricultural equipment sales and service, animal feed and supply distribution network, transportation system from farm to retail, food and meat processors and manufacturers, veterinary services and supplies, pet food manufacturers and distributors, distribution and transportation system from processors and manufacturers to retailers, retailers to include grocery stores and farmers markets, grocery delivery services, and laboratories and inspectors that ensure food safety.

We encourage food production and distribution facilities to continue operations but the decision for essential businesses to stay open or voluntarily close during the COVID-19 mitigation phase is a business-by-business decision. All essential businesses that choose to remain open should review and adjust standard operating procedures to minimize risk, take measures to protect their employees, send home sick employees, and minimize or eliminate congregate settings or groups of more than 10 people whenever possible.

The PA Department of Agriculture has developed guidance and recommendations for various businesses throughout the food supply chain.

In addition to adhering to department's guidance for industry, businesses should also follow the department's guidance for Sanitization and Diagnosed Employees and Secretary Levine's Worker Safety Order. The Department of Health has prepared answers to Frequently Asked Questions for the Worker Safety Order. Employees at all places of business, and customers who patronize these businesses, should wear a mask.

For a full list of guidance and resources to the agriculture industry, visit

Updated 5/4/20

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