​Best Practices to Minimize COVID-19 Risk at the Farmers Market

Achyut Adhikari, Kharel, Karuna

COVID-19 is not a foodborne disease. Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of COVID-19. This virus causes a respiratory illness, not a gastrointestinal illness, and foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.

Best Practices at the Farmers Market:

  • A hand-washing station with soap and a disposable towel or air dryer should be provided at entrances, exits and restrooms. Everyone should wash their hands before entering the market.
  • No one should enter the market if showing symptoms of COVID-19 or after encountering a sick person.
  • Keep the display area clean and sanitized.
  • Food sampling should be suspended.
  • Customers should not touch multiple pieces of produce. Only touch the produce you want to purchase.
  • People who are handling, preparing and serving food must follow safe food-handling procedures, such as washing hands and surfaces.
  • All venders must follow proper hygiene and sanitation practices. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers after each transaction.
  • Venders should wear gloves, but this may lend a false sense of security. Put on gloves after hand-washing and change them frequently, especially after touching your body.
  • No one should be allowed to eat food or spit inside the farmers market.
  • Use sanitized containers, equipment and utensils for food. Keep bags or containers to pack the produce after the sale.
  • Clean all surfaces used for food contact and frequently sanitize touched surfaces. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using disinfectant products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Disinfectants recommended for use against the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 are listed on the EPA website.

What do we know about COVID-19?

  • COVID-19 can survive on surfaces. However, it would not grow in food. The virus needs living hosts, such as humans or animals, to grow.
  • You may be carrying COVID-19 and have no symptoms.
  • You may get COVID-19 from another infected person or by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching your mouth, nose or possibly your eyes.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.


FDA. Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

CDC. Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Funding Source: Funding for this publication was made possible, in part, by the Food and Drug Administration through PAR-16-137 and USDA Specialty Crop Block Program 2018-70020-28874.

3/23/2020 5:12:42 PM
Rate This Article:

Have a question or comment about the information on this page?

Innovate . Educate . Improve Lives

The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture