WASHINGTON, DC, US — The US Department of Agriculture confirmed it is prepared to meet the new food safety challenges associated with the coronavirus.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Agricultural Marketing Service are addressing staffing concerns committed to having field personnel work closely with establishment management and state and local health authorities to handle situations as they arise.

“In this time of much uncertainty, we know that many of you have questions about how the department will continue to ensure that grading and inspection personnel are available,” the USDA said. “We have all seen how consumers have reacted to the evolving coronavirus situation and how important access to food is to a sense of safety and well-being. It is more important than ever that we assure the American public that government and industry will take all steps necessary to ensure continued access to safe and wholesome USDA-inspected products.”

The US Wheat Associates (USW) commended the USDA on its reassurance and commitment statement of food and inspection safety.

“Wheat importers around the world trust the United States as a reliable supplier,” said Vince Peterson, president of USW. “One of the foundations of that earned trust comes from the assurance provided by the official inspection process and certification performed by the Federal Grain Inspection Service that accompanies every cargo exported. We are pleased to see reassurance from USDA that it will do all it can to ensure that the US wheat store will remain open during this time of global uncertainty. US Wheat Associates will continue to monitor supply chains, inspection services and do our part to ensure customers can receive the wheat they need.”