COVID-19 Protective Measures for U-Pick Farms

From Clemson Food Safety Agent, Chad Carter.  Chad has also distributed these plans (Handwashing_station_instructions-1) for constructing handwashing stations for field workers and U-pick customers. 

As COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) is being monitored across the State of South Carolina, growers have questions as to whether to continue operations, especially at U-Pick farms. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN reports that “While COVID-19 is not known to be a foodborne illness, usual good practice as regards handling of animals and good food hygiene throughout the food chain are essential for public health and will aid in the prevention and control of infectious diseases.”  It is important that growers enforce good personal hygiene policies on farm which include frequent and proper handwashing, not working on or visiting farms when ill, and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends these basic protective measures.

  • Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands. It is important to pay close attention to thoroughly cleaning the entire surface of your hands and paying attention to areas between the fingers, knuckles and the back of your hands.

  • Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.  Remember, that the virus must enter your body through some mechanism for you to become contaminated – that includes being near someone else who is sick or touching your face with contaminated hands.

  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

  • Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

  • If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.

 

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

 

For Additional Information:

WHO: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

FAO: http://www.fao.org/2019-ncov/en/

SCDHEC: https://www.scdhec.gov/health/infectious-diseases/viruses/coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19

EFSA: https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/news/coronavirus-no-evidence-food-source-or-transmission-route

Cornell Ag Workforce Development: https://agworkforce.cals.cornell.edu/2020/03/12/novel-coronavirus-prevention-control-for-farms/?fbclid=IwAR33L94TtqPQYynR0nHh7VliLGawWaeRCcM_APvei8c2ExtIYEZZWBWjg38

3 thoughts on “COVID-19 Protective Measures for U-Pick Farms

  1. Pingback: Field Update – 3/16/20 | The South Carolina Grower

    • Hi Helen, it’s up to the grower to decide whether to allow U-Pick on their farms and set their hours. Most seem to be planning to go ahead while taking some extra precautions to try to keep everyone safe and healthy.

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