We know that in these uncertain, ever-changing times, safety is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. At Blue Apron, we consider our fulfillment center employees to be the true heroes of our operation and we’re constantly inspired by their level of dedication to food, family, and each other. That’s why we’ve always been committed to the highest level of safety in our fulfillment centers so we can take care of our employees while they work to take care of you. In response to COVID-19, we’ve added to our already rigorous safety practices and implemented a comprehensive approach to food and employee safety that includes heightened precautions as recommended by the CDC, FDA, and OSHA.
With the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the country, it is likely that everyone’s lives or businesses will be affected in some way or another by this virus. For us, we recognize that we are an essential service during this time and that is not a designation we take lightly. In order to do our part to keep our team members and customers safe, we have implemented a two-pronged safety approach:
- Adopt social distancing guidelines to reduce the risk of spread between employees, and
- Significantly enhance our daily cleaning, sanitation, and disinfecting practices on top of our already rigorous safety standards.
As a food facility regulated by the FDA, a comprehensive food safety program is followed in every part of our operation. In addition, Blue Apron takes an extra step in our food safety practices by certifying with the third-party program called the Safe Quality Food (SQF) Food Safety Code. SQF is widely considered one of the most rigorous and comprehensive food safety standards in the world and we are proud to have achieved this designation the last two years for all of our sites.
With these standards already in place at our facilities, employees are required to follow what’s called “Good Manufacturing Practices” by washing their hands thoroughly and wearing appropriate protective equipment, including nitrile gloves, smocks, hair nets, beard nets, and safety glasses before entering a production area.
In response to COVID-19, in early March, we changed shift interactions to reduce human contact, increased social distancing efforts and awareness both on and off the production floor, and enhanced equipment cleaning and sanitation procedures. In addition, we are following the new FDA and CDC guidelines for our employees who voluntarily wear face masks in our facility. *Update—Based on changes to local laws and regulations and updated guidelines from the CDC and FDA, all employees in all Blue Apron fulfillment centers are required to wear face masks at all times. Blue Apron is providing face masks along with training and guidance on the proper use of them from CDC and FDA.
The cleaning and disinfecting procedures we use meet the high standards of the FDA and CDC in reducing the spread of contagious illnesses, including COVID-19. When it was apparent that COVID-19 was spreading rapidly across the country, our team quickly created a formal COVID-19 Cleaning and Disinfecting Policy which focused on increasing the frequency of cleaning, disinfecting high-touch areas including areas like bathrooms and break rooms, and additional nightly cleaning and sanitizing of production equipment.
These measures, specifically designed to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 to our employees, are on top of our already rigorous food-safety standards and are published on our blog here. In the event that we have an employee who has tested positive for COVID-19, we have additional measures in place that include a deep cleaning of both work and common areas. We also directly notify employees. If anyone reports to us that they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 (or if they outwardly exhibit symptoms), they are asked not to report to the fulfillment center, or if they are at a fulfillment center, they are immediately sent home. In this case, we conduct regular wellness checks with them while they are at home and deploy targeted additional cleanings. It’s also important to remember that the FDA has stated that there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 can be transferred through food or food packaging.
People Matter Most
We take our role in providing food to people across the country during this challenging time seriously. To show our front line fulfillment center employees how much we appreciate their hard work, we recently implemented a temporary pay increase to reward them for their dedication during these unprecedented times and for meeting such high safety standards.
None of us know when this period of time will end and that uncertainty can be unsettling. But if there’s one thing you can trust right now, it’s that when you order from Blue Apron, a group of talented and passionate employees take safety seriously and pack each box with your family in mind. Because in these times, that’s what matters most.