*Printed materials available to California strawberry companies from the commission. Call the commission to obtain materials at 831.724.1301.
*Printed materials available to California strawberry companies from the commission. Call the commission to obtain materials at 831.724.1301.
*Printed materials available to California strawberry companies from the commission. Call the commission to obtain materials at 831.724.1301.

Current Information

Where can I get current information?      

Most reliable information can be found through the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), and your local county health department.  

CDC General Information: https://link.calstrawberry.com/72g.  

California-specific information: https://link.calstrawberry.com/mn9.  

Can the virus be transmitted via fresh produce? There is no evidence demonstrating that fresh produce can transmit the virus.  A study published in 2013 demonstrated that a different strain of coronavirus does not transmit well on produce. This study can be found at this link: https://link.calstrawberry.com/l91

CDC reports that the virus is, 'spread mainly from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).' 

For example, people who work in an office or confined spaces are likely at higher risk than people who work on a farm. 

What can I tell my customers? 

Rigorous food safety and worker safety standards are a critical part of the culture on strawberry farms in California to protect both consumers and farmworkers. Strawberry farmworkers receive extensive training specific to food safety as well as information on how to keep themselves and their co-workers healthy. This training emphasizes proper handwashing techniques and continual reminders to stay home when sick and seek proper medical care when needed. Videos in English, Spanish and Mixtec (an indigenous language spoken in southern Mexico) help to reinforce this information: https://link.calstrawberry.com/6ly.   

What can I tell my employees? 

CDC recommends everyday preventive actions, similar to preventing a cold or flu. The commission's Food Safety Training Program includes specific chapters about staying healthy and proper handwashing. This might be a good time to review these chapters with crews. 

Videos are available in English, Spanish and Mixteco at this link: https://link.calstrawberry.com/9aj

A training poster for coronavirus can be found at this link:  https://link.calstrawberry.com/ys9

Additionally, there is a basic information video about coronavirus provided by WHO: https://link.calstrawberry.com/5ru

The best things that you can do to protect yourself (and your family and your co-workers) is to follow the same precautions you would use for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and foodborne illness: 

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Disinfect commonly touched surfaces (door handles, light switches, printer/copier buttons) frequently.
  • Thoroughly wash shared kitchen dishes and utensils with hot water and soap.
  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow, or into a clean tissue, and immediately dispose of that tissue in a trash can. 

If asked about health care available to the field worker population: In California, all employers with 50 or more employees are required to provide health insurance for their employees who work 30 or more hours per week. Additionally, California farm workers receive paid sick leave.    

What can my business do to prepare? 

  1. Follow your standard food safety plans, including review of the commission videos on staying healthy and proper hand washing (referenced above). 
  2. Consider social distancing, such as spacing between harvest workers, as well as spacing during breaks. 
  3. Prepare for possible shortages of equipment and supplies (such as PPE - personal protection equipment) that might disrupt production.  

The CDC has posted guidance for businesses and employers, and will update should new information become available: https://link.calstrawberry.com/zld

For Shippers 

FMI issued a document, Coronavirus and Pandemic Preparedness for the Food Industry. This resource can be found at the following link: https://www.fmi.org/food-safety/coronavirus.   

The commission will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as additional pertinent information becomes available. 

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