Florida Fruit Shippers®
PO Box 530456
St. Petersburg, FL 33747-0456
3/11/20 As the owner of Florida Fruit Shippers, I want to take this opportunity to let you know that we are monitoring and responding to the COVID-19 situation. You can be assured that our products are safe, and that we are taking steps to protect our employees and ensure the continued safety of our products as we go forward.
Regarding COVID-19 transmission, the CDC website states: "In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from food products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient, refrigerated, or frozen temperatures." (CDC FAQ: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html) As you know, our citrus is shipped in refrigerated trucks. "Corona viruses are generally thought to be spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with food."
Our fruit packing operations are regulated by the FDA. We comply with FDA regulations and guidelines for food handling and for preventing the transmission of illnesses. The vendors that supply our packaged products are also FDA regulated, and we choose our vendors for the quality and safety of their products. All of our fruit is washed, waxed and inspected before it is placed into our gift fruit cartons. We recommend recipients wash fruit before consuming it as a general food safety measure.
It is important to note that tree crops like citrus fruits rank very low for risk of food-borne illness because the fruit is harvested from the tree, not from the ground as is the case with row crops such as lettuce.
Oranges and grapefruit, like apples and pears, are loaded with nutrients that boost the immune system, thereby increasing one's ability to resist both viral and bacterial illnesses.
We and our contractors are taking additional steps to protect the FFS family, including monitoring risks, developing a response plan to protect workers, and employing enhanced sanitation and hygiene protocols. We have stocked up on essential supplies, increased communication regarding the COVID-19 issue, and implemented teleworking options wherever possible. Our top priority is the health and safety of our staff and our customers.
-Rick Del Greco