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COVID -19 Food Facility Safety

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Novel Coronavirus

Published on March 06, 2020. Last modified on July 10, 2020



The Food and Drug Branch (FDB) Retail Food Unit has received multiple inquiries about food facility operations guidance for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and retail food. Staff with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have indicated that person-to-person spread is the primary transmission method for coronavirus. Currently, we are not aware of any data that indicates the virus that causes COVID-19 can be transmitted through the ingestion of food. California Retail Food Code (Cal Code) sections that may be useful in reference to the Coronavirus COVID-19 and food facilities are as follows:  

  • Restrict ill food workers and emphasis that employee should stay home if sick. Cal Code, Chapter 3, Article 3 - Employee Health. 

  • Implement strict hand hygiene practices by all employees. Cal Code, Chapter 3, Article 4 – Handwashing. 

  • Perform routine cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces. Cal Code, Chapter 5 – Cleaning and Sanitizing of Equipment and Utensils. 

If a food facility reports that a food worker was sent home ill or has a concern that an ill patron visited their food facility, FDB recommends that the local environmental health agency work with their local public health partner to determine the risk and appropriate response for the incident. 

Additional COVID-19 information related to businesses, food facility operations, health care, and other facilities can be found at the following website resources: 

California Department of Public Health 

U.S. FDA Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) resources: 


CDC Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) resources: 

U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 


World Health Organization 

Food Safety for Food Delivery & Pick-up

Online delivery is surging and eating in is the new dining out. Due to the recent corona virus outbreak, for an increasing number of Americans dining out is no longer an option. Today, many independent restaurants are switching to takeout or delivery only models due to new city and state rules. To ensure delivered food is safe for consumption, proper food handling during the food preparation, holding, pick-up and delivery of the food needs to take place. Download Flyer Here

Thinking About Canning?

Download information about canning here.

Public Health recommendations to minimize the spread of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) in retail food establishments

Food has not been identified as a likely source of COVID-19 infection at this time; however food businesses can play an important role in both protecting their employees and their customers from coronavirus infection by following the below personal and environmental hygiene practices.

 This information is also available in PDF format.

  • Stay home when you are sick with fever, coughing, and sneezing.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water for 20 seconds upon first arriving to work, after using the restroom, before and after eating and frequently throughout the day. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Provide alcohol based (60%) hand sanitizers for use for both employees and customers by placing them at convenient/accessible locations.

  • Use sanitizing solution (i.e., one teaspoon of unscented household bleach in a gallon of cool water) to frequently sanitize commonly touched surfaces and objects such as electronics, door knobs, faucet handles, counter tops, cash machine key pads, dining tables frequently throughout the day. Change the sanitizing solution at least once every four hours.

  • Consider temporarily limiting self-serve operations. Examples of such operations include; salad bars, buffets and dispensers. Replace utensils frequently (approximately hourly) during peak use hours for self-serve style operations.

  • Ensure dishwasher and/or three-compartment sinks are used properly and have the appropriate level of sanitizer for final rinse (50-100 PPM chlorine based sanitizer, follow product label for other approved sanitizers).

  • Ensure sneeze guards are in place where required.

  • If you have food employees at higher risk for coronavirus with underlying health conditions, such as people 60 or older, people with underlying health conditions (heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes) or those with weakened immune systems or those who are pregnant: consider temporarily assigning them to non-public-contact duties.

If you are a food business owner or a food worker and have questions related to your operation please reach out to your Health Investigator or call 831-755-4508 to speak with office staff. For the latest information, please visit the following site: www.mtyhd.org/2019nCoV