International Fresh Produce Association Comments on U.S. Department of Homeland Security Vaccine Mandate; Robert Guenther and Ed Treacy Discuss
NEWARK, DE & WASHINGTON, DC - The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) would begin enforcing a vaccine requirement to allow essential workers entry into the U.S. The new mandate, made effective January 22, 2022, requires all non-U.S. individuals crossing at points of entry along the Mexico and Canada borders will have to verbally attest that they are fully vaccinated, as well as provide proof of vaccination to CBP officers upon request.
In a recent release, the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) outlined the impacts this move could have on the entire food supply chain.
“The fresh produce industry has been proactively encouraging our employers and employees to comply with federal, state, and local requirements regarding COVID-19 testing and vaccinations with significant success,” stated IFPA Chief Public Policy Officer Robert Guenther, who has already shared the association’s concerns with DHS Assistant Secretary Eva A. Millona. “We’ve continued to deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to the global food supply chain despite disruptions caused by health and labor challenges. Part of prioritizing public health and safety is ensuring access to a safe, abundant food supply remains uninterrupted,” he noted.
As this move directly impacts the produce industry at large, IFPA will continue to work with allied associations and regulatory stakeholders to aid in this issue. As noted in the release, these focuses include the availability of acceptable vaccines, the clarity of what is acceptable for travel and work in the U.S., and the continued discussions over exemptions for essential workers and who may qualify.
“While we have been proactively supporting the public health guidelines since the first reports of this policy in November, we are concerned that this final declaration is being finalized 24 hours from its required implementation,” IFPA Vice President of Supply Chain and Sustainability Ed Treacy added. “In turn, this will cause great concerns for those responsible for adhering to this requirement as well as officials at the border who have to implement this new order starting [January 22].”
To view the details of the vaccine mandate, click here.
To further aid companies within the supply chain, IFPA also recently launched a resource page for the produce and floral industries that includes data, recommended actions, and information on the association’s moves to mitigate the challenges caused by supply chain disruptions.
AndNowUKnow will continue to report as our industry works to overcome the current supply chain pressures and other industry challenges.