Silver Spring, MD—The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is offering a free webinar on COVID-19 on Mar 26, 2020, from 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT, and also has posted answers to FAQs regarding the impact of COVID-19 on food and dietary supplements on its website. AHPA notes that it will regularly update and revise this information as new information about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) and possible impacts on the herbal products industry and the people who work in this trade becomes available.

Among the topics covered:
Low risk of transmission through food and packaging.AHPA shared: "FDAhas stated that it is 'not aware of any reports at this time of human illnesses that suggest COVID-19 can be transmitted by food or food packaging.'CDC states that there is low risk of spreading the virus from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.

FDA cGMP inspections postponed.The FDA has postponedmost foreign inspections through April, due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19. More on can be foundhere. AHPA shared: "FDA is confident it can maintain oversight over international manufacturers and imported products using alternative tools and methods. FDA will use other tools at its disposal, including denying entry of unsafe products into the U.S., physical examinations and/or product sampling at borders, reviewing a firm’s previous compliance history, and using information sharing from foreign governments as part of mutual recognition and confidentiality agreements.

Business practices to mitigate the impact.AHPA shared resources for business, including the CDC'sresource guidewith information for employers to help decrease the spread of illness, and the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA)'sfact sheet for on information to protect workers during a pandemic.

Impact on supply chains."At present time, the herbal industry is not experiencing systemic supply chain challenges related to COVID-19," AHPA shared. "However, each company’s supply chains are unique, and companies must work with their suppliers to assess their unique situation. As this situation is rapidly developing, ongoing supply chain monitoring and contingency planning is recommended."

Additional information on these topics and more is available on AHPA's websitehere.
Related: Coronavirus Effect on Supply Chain: “Make Plans and Be Prepared” COVID-19 Update: Industry Works to Keep Stores Well-Stocked & Meet Consumer Needs NIH Study: New Coronavirus Stable for Hours to Days on Surfaces