April 15, 2020
WI Gov. Tony Evers has ordered Wisconsinites to stay in their homes to fend off the coronavirus outbreak. In response, the offices of MWFPA will be closed until further notice.
Those wishing to contact the MWFPA offices are encouraged to contact staff members via email. Those emails are:
President, Jason Culotta:  jason.culotta@mwfpa.org
Director of Operations, Jane Algiers:  jane.algiers@mwfpa.org
Director of Communications, Brian Elliott:  brian.elliott@mwfpa.org

MWFPA has also created a resource page to assist food manufacturers and supply chain partners in mitigating the negative impacts of the coronavirus COVID-19. We will continue to keep our members updated on any new developments. Click here to access MWFPA's COVID-19 resource page.
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Bug Blocker Doors & Screens
MWFPA Seminars Rescheduled
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MWFPA Accident Investigation Seminar has been tentatively rescheduled for December 10, 2020 at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI.
The MWFPA Sanitation Seminar, originally scheduled for May 12, 2020 at the Raddisson Hotel in La Crosse, WI has been tentatively rescheduled for January 2021 at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI – date to be determined.

Watch the MWFPA News Bulletin and our website for further details as events develop.
Should you have any questions, please contact Jan Algiers at:  jane.algiers@mwfpa.org
OSHA Clarifies Employer Obligations to Record COVID-19 Cases
The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) has issued  interim guidance  on employers’ duties as they relate to recording cases of COVID-19.

Read more .
Recommendations For The Food Industry Applying EEOC Rules For Hiring During COVID-19
With increasing absenteeism within workforces, temporary hiring has increased in grocery and manufacturing establishments.

To enable businesses to continue to meet hiring and employment requirements, EEOC has developed guidance , and an information page for employers to refer to that are consistent with workplace protections and rules.

Note: While laws, including the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, continue to apply during the pandemic, they do not interfere with or prevent employers from following the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines and/or those of state/local public health authorities.
In the EEOC’s Q&A section, MWFPA has identified some helpful questions related to hiring practices. Click here .
The MWFPA News Bulletin is underwritten in part by Alliant Energy
CDC Official Updates HR Professionals on Coronavirus Impact

Public health officials are still learning critical information about how to respond to the coronavirus pandemic—and HR professionals need to check in frequently to learn about the latest recommendations. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have partnered to provide monthly updates on how the evolving crisis is impacting the world of work and what HR professionals and managers need to know.

Read more here .
Best Practices of Conscientious Companies

Since March 12th, much has changed. In addition to policies for employee health, companies have applied some novel ideas to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Here are some ideas assembled by The Acheson Group . You may want to consider similar policies as applicable for your business.
  • Increasing cleaning and disinfecting frequencies can provide further protection. This includes regularly cleaning the front of the house/non-food processing areas on the same schedule that of standard food areas. Cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing should include frequently touched surfaces (e.g. doorknobs, countertops, tabletops, screens, etc.), sweeping floors, and emptying trash.
  • Implementing Employee Wellness Checks coupled with temperature checks both prior to each shift worked and at timed intervals during the work hours. Because individuals who may be infected may not show fever symptoms, temperature checks should not be used in lieu of wellness checks. Read more about Employee Wellness Checks and Temperature-taking below.
  • Across the U.S., many Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs), foodservice providers, and retailers are forbidding/banning the use of customer-provided reusable cups. Additionally, an increasing number of businesses are even removing self-serve items (e.g., fruit, plastic utensils, cups, etc.) away from customer-accessible areas.
  • To ascertain social distancing (maintaining 6 feet or 2 meters distance from others), companies have set up methods of protecting customers and employees. To maintain social distance, companies have put up signs, put up plexiglass separators, marked floors with tape (or other markers), or put up guides to separate individuals 6 feet (2 meters) apart.

  • Gloves and non-medical masks can be provided and donned for protection. However, donning gloves and masks may give wearer’s a false sense of security and encourage bad behavior. It is important to remain vigilant, not touch one’s face, wash hands frequently, and maintain social distance.

  • Encouraging work from home. Multi-unit businesses can decrease potential COVID-19 spread by maintaining separation between locations and minimizing movement between sites by associates.
Employee Pre-Screen Template Offered By M3 Insurance

The Centers for Disease Control recently established interim guidance which states that critical infrastructure workers may be permitted to continue to work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.

The additional precautions advised by the CDC include:

  • Pre-Screen to include measuring the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work.
  • Regular Monitoring
  • Wear a Mask
  • Social Distance
  • Disinfect and Clean work spaces

MWFPA associate member M3 Insurance has created a template that employers can consider using to Pre-screen employees at the start of each shift.

The template is available on the M3 Insurance website here:  https://www.m3ins.com/sites/default/files/COVID-19_SLSS_Shift%20Health%20Check%20Log.pdf
While the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ( EEOC) has relaxed their current policies, employee privacy must remain a top priority for organizations, which includes ensuring HIPAA compliance. Due diligence efforts should be implemented and documented accordingly as a proactive measure to maintain best practices to protect employees.
USDA Engages Public Input On Agriculture Innovation Agenda

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that it is seeking public and private sector input on the Agriculture Innovation Agenda (AIA) , which is an initiative to increase agricultural production by 40 percent while reducing environmental impact by half by 2050.

Comments are requested to identify innovation opportunities for agricultural productivity and environmental conservation. These comments will be incorporated into a comprehensive agricultural strategy that is slated for release at the end of this year. USDA is currently accepting comments until August 1, 2020. Comments can be submitted here.
USDA To Initiate Rulemaking For "Made in USA" Claims On Meat And Poultry Products

In response to two petitions, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced that intends to conduct rulemaking to change its policy toward “Product of USA” claims for meat and poultry products, with an apparent objective of limiting the scope of products eligible for the claim.

Read more .
USDA To Provide COOL Labeling Flexibility
USDA has announced that the agency will exercise enforcement discretion for a temporary period to provide labeling flexibilities to the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements and allow the redistribution of food products intended for foodservice to be sold in retail establishments.

The temporary policy will take effect April 20, 2020 and will last for a period of 60 days, after which COOL designations will once again be required for covered commodities.
Hiring? Send Job Postings To WI Restaurant Association
The Wisconsin Restaurant Association is trying to help place individuals who are out of jobs with temporary jobs. They are asking the business community to send them a link with job postings, and they will get them out to their membership.

If your business is hiring temporary employees, please send any open positions directly to Kristine Hillmer ( khillmer@wirestaurant.org ) , President & CEO of the Wisconsin Restaurant Association. You can view open positions here .
Food Banks Face Virus Dilemma: More Demand, Fewer Volunteers - MWFPA Members Step In To Help
Due to the coronavirus, food banks throughout Wisconsin and elsewhere are overwhelmed causing shortages of both donated food and volunteer workers. In response, MWFPA members have stepped in to help.

According to Tony Mans, Senior Manager, Strategic Capacity Development for Feeding America - the nation’s largest network of food banks - " All of our food banks are in need of more food donations. Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin, Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Second Harvest Heartland, and Feed My People have all experienced unprecedented increases in demand as a result of the COVID-19 crisis."

MWFPA members have stepped into the breach making substantial donations to Feeding America's network of food banks. These donations, more than 30 truckloads, have been of great value to the food banks as most are shelf stable, nutritious products which is what these outlets need the most. "We couldn’t be more grateful for the support in these challenging times," said Mans.

Mans noted that food banks have had to switch to contactless-distribution which means boxing up all foods in advance. Thus the need for volunteers. Older volunteers have been told to stay home and calls for social distancing have complicated efforts to package and distribute food. Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin is especially in need of assistance and anyone wishing to volunteer can sign up at the Second Harvest website:  https://www.secondharvestmadison.org/ .

In addition, they are short on refrigerated storage space. If any MWFPA members have surplus refrigerated warehouse space or refrigerated vehicles that could be used onsite, and are willing to donate, please contact Danielle Lawson: daniellel@shfbmadison.org  .

In addition to donations of food, foodbanks are also in need of financial donations as they have all had to buy food to support the increased demands. Below are links to their website where anyone can make a donation.
WI Transportation Dept. Issues COVID-19 Emergency Trucking Permits

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) last Friday announced new emergency oversize and overweight permits that help truckers to meet the enormous health and economic demands brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Agricultural products, medical supplies, warehouse goods, and all freight supplying any of the federally-defined 16 critical infrastructure sectors fall under the new permits, which authorize gross vehicle weights up to 90,000 pounds.
In addition to the efficiencies the Emergency Order #24  permits offer, WisDOT is also supporting truckers by keeping all of the state’s 28 rest areas open and regularly sanitized.

Read more here .
WI Business Group Urges Gov. Evers To End Safer At Home By April 24

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce has called for Gov.  Tony Evers  to end his Safer At Home order as it expires April 24 to phase in economic activity possibly with social distancing in workplaces and more restrictions continuing in Milwaukee County but less in non-urban areas that have few COVID-19 cases.

WI Capitol
WI Lawmakers Pass Coronavirus Relief Package

The WI State Legislature met in its first ever virtual session and passed legislation addressing COVID-19. The measure was signed into law this afternoon by Gov. Evers.

Among other things, the bill would require the state’s chief economic development agency to create a plan by June 30 to support the major industries adversely affected by the pandemic, including tourism, manufacturing, agriculture, construction, retail, and services.

The legislative package also suspends the state’s one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits until next February and allows Wisconsin to receive hundreds of millions in federal dollars to help the state pay Medicaid expenses.
Walz Delivers MN State-Of-State Address From Home

MN Gov. Tim Walz delivered his annual State of the State address from his residence.

Walz spoke to Minnesotans about the forthcoming days as the state battles COVID-19. and outlined some of the steps the state was taking to combat the pandemic.

Read more .
MN Legislature Passes Fourth COVID-19 Relief Package

The MN House and Senate passed a package today ( HF4556 ) to address a host of policy issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the fourth such piece of legislation passed by the Legislature.

Among its provisions the bill adds an additional $1.25 million to a fiscal year 2020 appropriation to reimburse Second Harvest Heartland for the purchase of milk and protein products, including meat, dry legumes, cheese, and eggs.
The bill now goes to the governor.

Read more .
can of corn
MWFPA, Can Manufacturers, AgriGrowth Call For Canned Fruits And Vegetables In MN Food Program

The spread of the coronavirus has led MWFPA to request that the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) restore canned fruits and vegetables eligibility in the Women Infants and Children supplemental food and nutrition program (WIC).
In a letter to MDA Commissioner Thom Petersen, MWFPA, the Can Manufacturers Institute and the AgriGrowth Council, said "At a time when Americans need nutritious, convenient, and affordable food options, MWFPA believes those participating in WIC deserve equal access to canned food."

Previously, federal programs like the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program for schools excluded frozen and canned fruit and vegetables in addition to dried. That has changed, but other government run programs, like WIC, in some states including Minnesota, have removed canned vegetables from the list of allowable purchases by program participants. This even though the Dietary Guidelines for Americans supports their inclusion.

Last week the Texas Health and Human Services department announced an expansion of the list of WIC approved foods, permanently adding canned fruits and vegetables as "WIC Approved" products.

MWFPA has maintained that individuals participating in WIC and other government food programs should have access to all forms of nutritious fruits and vegetables – canned, fresh, frozen or dried - which, due to their affordability, allow the participants to get the most nutrition for their money.
Gov. Evers Issues COVID- 19 Order For WI Migrant Workers

Yesterday, Gov. Evers issued Emergency Order 25 pertaining to the housing and transportation of migrant farm workers in Wisconsin and affecting food processing and agricultural employers.
For the most part the order is reflective of Centers for Disease Control (DCD) guidance. However it differs in several respects, most notably on what employers will be required to provide workers at work sites and in the transportation of those workers to those sites.

The order mandates that hand washing and hand sanitizer stations be provided migrant workers in cooking, eating and sleeping facilities as well "in the field or in other food production, processing, transportation, cultivation, and farming operation centers."

Perhaps most problematic is the requirement that in transporting workers to work sites "Employers shall insure that workers engage in social distancing . . . and sit at least six feet apart, even if this requires additional transport and reduces productivity."

MWFPA President Jason Culotta said, "I’m highly disappointed that the Administration saw fit to issue this order without providing relief to employers on the use of social distancing in transportation. Somehow the ag industry will have to keep migrant workers (but not others) at 6 foot distances when being transported.”

"This is unworkable for employers," Culotta pointed out. "It would be more feasible to require employers to make reasonable accommodations, such as sanitizing the inside of vehicles on a regular schedule or provide masks if requested for transportation purposes only," he added.

Culotta pointed out that many of the mandated provisions included in the Gov's order " take a CDC recommendation not required for workers in general and applies it to migrant workers."

The order went into effect on April 14 is set to expire in 60 days. Violation of the order could result in imprisonment for up to 30 days, or a fine of up to $500.
Questions regarding the order should be directed to Migrant Labor Inspector Pedro Albiter at office # 608-242-4906 or cell # 608- 220-1386.
 Misssspleings and Old Informcion
Is Your Company Profile Up to Date for the Member Directory?

The 2020-2021 Membership Directory is going to print soon. Just a reminder, if your organization’s 2020 dues haven’t been paid your company will not be included in this publication.

Review your company’s listing using the member portal Infohub and make any updates necessary. You can also check to see if your dues are current in the member portal, and make payment directly using your credit card.

Please check for accuracy in the contact information and be sure categories and a company description are included in your profile. Contact Jane Algiers with questions or concerns.
Register Now For MWFPA's Spring Summit & Scramble!

MAY 27-28, 2020
Kalahari Convention Center and Resort and Trappers Turn Golf Course, Wisconsin Dells, WI.
Wednesday, May 27th - Kalahari
7:30 a.m. Convention & AMO Committees Meeting
9:30 a.m. Board of Directors Meeting
1:30 p.m. Raw Products Committee Meeting
5:00 p.m. Reception, with hosted beer and wine
Thursday, May 28th - Trappers Turn
7:00 a.m. Golf Registration/Check-in
8:00 a.m. Shotgun Start
Immediately following golf there will be lunch, awards and cash prizes presented.
ENTRY FEES (Please note that invoicing is not an option for this event.)
GOLFERS : $150 per person (Note: You may register as a foursome, or as an individual. Fee includes Wednesday evening reception, Thursday golf, cart, gift bag, lunch and entry in prize drawings)
NON-GOLFERS : $75 per person (Fee includes Wednesday evening reception, Thursday lunch and entry in prize drawings)

For more information, click here .
Sponsorship opportunities are available! Contact Jane Algiers or Jason Culotta at 608-255-9946.

Don’t forget! Friday/Weckel Scholarship applications are due April 24!!

Both scholarships offer up to three $1,500 scholarships (total of six) to deserving undergraduate students who are majoring in agriculture or food science within the University of Wisconsin system (currently Madison, Platteville and River Falls).

Last year six scholarships were awarded totaling $9,000.

Information and applications for scholarships offered by the Association can be downloaded from the MWFPA website , or by contacting Brian Elliott at: brian.elliott@mwfpa.org , or by calling 608-255-9946.
Mark Your Calendar: MWFPA Events You Won't Want To Miss
April 21, 2020 : MWFPA Human Resources Committee , 4600 American Pkwy., Madison, WI, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

May 27-28, 2020: MWFPA Spring Summit & Scramble, Trappers Turn Golf Club, 2955 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy, Wisconsin Dells, WI. May 27, 2020: MWFPA Committee Meetings - Kalahari Convention Center, WI Dells WI. - AMO & Convention Committees, 7:30 a.m./ Board of Directors 9:30 a.m./ Raw Products Committee 1:30 pm.

October 14, 2020: MWFPA Sporting Clays Challenge, Game Unlimited Hunting Club, 871 County Rd E, Hudson, WI.

December 10, 2020 (tentative): MWFPA Accident Investigation Seminar, Wilderness Resort, 511 E Adams St, Wisconsin Dells, WI, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Cost: $95 per person. Should you have any questions, please contact Jan Algiers or telephone: 608-255-9946.

December 1-3, 2020:   MWFPA 116th Annual Convention and 93rd Processing Crops Conference . Kalahari Resort & Convention Center, Wisconsin Dells, WI.

January, 2021: MWFPA Sanitation Seminar , tentatively rescheduled for January 2021 at the Wilderness Resort in Wisconsin Dells, WI – date to be determined.
Other Educational Opportunities
April 22-23, 2020 : Food Defense and Intentional Adulteration Rule Training , Minneapolis, MN.

Mindful of company travel bans and the University of Minnesota’s response to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, FPDI has rescheduled the Food Defense and Intentional Adulteration Training scheduled for April 22-23, 2020. The new date for the FPDI Food Defense and Intentional Adulteration Rule Training is: June 16-17, 2020.
Please reach out to Deb with specific questions regarding the training at: freedman@umn.edu

This two-day course hosted, by the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), provides the convenience and interaction of a single, in person class to more comprehensively learn the breadth and interconnections of IA Rule requirements including how to:

  • Prepare a Food Defense Plan
  • Conduct vulnerability assessments including the full FSPCA Intentional Adulteration Conducting Vulnerability Assessment Course (IAVA)
  • Identify and explain mitigation strategies
  • Conduct reanalysis

Click here for additional details and registration.

April 28-30, 2020: FDA/USDA Better Process Control School. Pyle Center , 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI. The FDA Better Process Control School will be held September 22-24,2020 at the Pyle Conference Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. See below.

April 29, 30 and May 1, 2020 : Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) Training . M3 Madison – 828 John Nolen Drive, Madison, WI. M3 Insurance, Madison office, in collaboration with the WI Manufacturing Extension Partnership, will host a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) training to help your company meet the Food Safety Modernization Act requirement.

This training is an to add depth to your food safety team or cross train employees who may not be directly responsible for food safety, but who can benefit from a deeper understanding of food safety methods.

Early bird registration is $449 (deadline to receive discounted price is April 10). Register now.

September 22-24, 2020: FDA Better Process Control School. Pyle Conference Center on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, 702 Langdon Street, Madison, WI. This training provides the canning industry with qualified personnel to meet FDA and USDA regulations. Through in-person lectures with industry experts, the Better Process Control School at UW-Madison has successfully trained industry personnel for more than 40 years. Participants value the personalized instruction that leads to successful completion of the course.
A link to online registration and more information is here: https://foodsafety.wisc.edu Registration deadline to guarantee a spot is September 1, 2020. Participants are encouraged to register early so that they can adequately prepare for the training (participants will be sent the course manual for review/study prior to attending).
Brian Elliott | Midwest Food Products Association | Ph: (608) 255-9946 | Fax: (608) 255-9838
Web: www.mwfpa.org