FSIS requires masking policies in official plants

August 26, 2021

The Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a notice requiring masks be worn in all meat, poultry and egg product plants under the agency’s jurisdiction. Effective August 25, FSIS said plants “must require their employees or contractors to wear masks when IPP [inspection program personnel] are present if the establishment is located in a county with ‘substantial’ or ‘high’ community transmission of COVID-19.” FSIS inspectors are also required to wear masks following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the FSIS notice, if inspectors determine that employees are not wearing masks, they are to notify management orally and in writing and notify the District Manager. The District Manager would withhold inspection (effectively requiring the plant to shut down) if the plant “does not require employees and contractors to wear masks when FSIS personnel are present, or they are not consistently implementing that requirement.” The Agricultural Marketing Service is likely to follow similar procedures to those announced by FSIS.