May 22, 2020Client Alert

FDA and USDA Prioritize Food and Agriculture Sector in Recommendations for Providing PPE

Today, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, released recommendations to help address shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE), cloth face coverings, disinfectants, and sanitation supplies in the food and agriculture industry during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

COVID-19 has caused a shortages in PPE, cloth face coverings, disinfectants, and sanitation supplies, which has resulted in food production stakeholders having difficulty acquiring proper materials to keep their employees safe. In order to help these food production stakeholders, with input from the Food and Agriculture Sector Coordinating Council, FDA and USDA developed the following recommendations so that their is no disruption in their supply chain due to lack of materials:

Prioritization Recommendations:

As PPE, cloth face coverings, disinfectants, and sanitation supplies become available, it is highly encouraged that available supplies be distributed with first priority to the following industries:

  • Hospitals, healthcare, long-term care, retirement homes, hospice, and other healthcare-providing establishments and the emergency responder community.
  • The Food and Agriculture Sector (as well as the other Critical Infrastructure Sectors), including food manufacturers/producers, suppliers of agricultural inputs and facilities that store, process and/or market agricultural products, grocery stores, food retail, food service, and food storage and distribution.
  • Food and Agriculture Sector entities should follow guidance provided in the Federal Emergency Management Agency fact sheet, entitled  Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic: Addressing PPE Needs in Non-Healthcare Setting, when considering their PPE requirements. All efforts should be made to identify alternatives to medical-grade PPE (such as N95 respirators), disinfectants, and/or sanitation supplies critically needed by the Healthcare and Public Health and Emergency Services sectors. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) information may be helpful when assessing appropriate PPE. 


Sector entities can apply the following considerations when attempting to source supplies:

  • Continue working with normal and alternate private-sector suppliers to obtain PPE, cloth face coverings, disinfectants, and sanitation supplies. It may be necessary to identify multiple options for suppliers and prioritize near-term versus long-term needs.
  • If suppliers are unable to provide for your needs, and the PPE and/or cloth face coverings are urgently required, submit a request for assistance to your state emergency management agencies. If the state is unable to address the PPE and/or cloth face covering shortfall, the state should submit a request for support to their FEMA Regional Response Coordination Center.

Any requests to state or federal agencies for urgent resupply of PPE for essential critical infrastructure workers should accurately describe:

  • Specific types, quantities (include 30-, 60- and 90-day demand), and locations where PPE is needed.
  • Estimated time until the shortage impacts operations based on PPE burn rate; and
  • Consequence of the shortage on the supply of food, agricultural commodities or agricultural inputs, and anticipated duration of its impact.

To further support these requests, you may also describe how the request helps you to:

  • Comply with worker safety and health laws, regulations or guidance (including those issued by OSHA).
  • Abide by Federal, State, and Local requirements or recommendations to ensure food safety or evolving consumer/employee confidence guidance for COVID-19.

When ordering PPE, cloth face coverings, disinfectants, and/or sanitation supplies, Sector entities can:

For More Information:

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