COVID-19:  Consumer Resources

Last Updated: July 23, 2020
The U.S. rice industry is dedicated to providing safe, healthy, and nutritious food for consumers here and around the world.  Food safety standards in the United States are among the most stringent and comprehensive in the world.  In this time of great uncertainty, USA Rice members are taking extra steps to ensure the safety of employees and the communities and customers they serve.

Information on COVID-19 is constantly changing. We have attempted to collect relevant and important information for consumers here.  If you have other questions, please reach out to us at riceinfo@usarice.com.  Media inquiries to media@usarice.com.

Information and resources for industry can be found here: usarice.com/covid19.

USA Rice Statement on Domestic Rice Supply

Bowl of cooked white rice

U.S. consumers need not be concerned about a shortage of U.S.-grown rice.  There is no shortage.  Rice is a nutritious and inexpensive staple that when kept under the right conditions can last almost indefinitely, so it makes sense consumers would want an ample supply on hand during this crisis. 

"If you see depleted rice shelves in your local grocery store, it is not a supply problem, it is a signifier of changing logistics in the retail market.  For a few years now, stores that used to keep one month or more of products on hand have largely shifted to a ‘just-in-time’ model to improve their efficiency.  When there is a surge in consumer interest for a particular product, supplies on hand may be depleted, but will be quickly replenished.  This is the case for U.S.-grown rice.

"Not only are shipments of sustainably-grown U.S. rice on the way to stores now, but this is the time of year when our thousands of family farmers are out in the fields or preparing to be, planting the next crop to ensure our supply of delicious, safe rice never runs out.”

  Betsy Ward, USA Rice President & CEO (March 17, 2020)

Additional Resources

FAQs on COVID-19 & Food Safety
Q: Can a person contract Coronavirus from food?
A: Coronavirus is a respiratory virus spread through respiratory droplets. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does not consider COVID-19 to be a foodborne illness, but similar actions to prevent foodborne illness can be taken to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The most important actions to take include proper handwashing using soap and water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds, frequent cleaning and sanitation of touch points, and staying home when sick or caring for someone who is sick. 
Q: Can a person contract Coronavirus by touching food or food packaging?
A: There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 (the virus causing COVID-19) is transmitted through food or food packaging. Like other viruses, it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects. For that reason, it is critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill.
Q: Is the U.S. food supply safe?
A: The FDA and USDA, which oversee food safety standards and compliance, have regulations and systems in place to ensure for the highest levels of food safety at all times.
Q: How can food suppliers guarantee American consumers that the food they are putting into the market is safe and free from the virus?
A: According to multiple public health agencies around the world, including USDA, CDC, WHO, FDA and EFSA coronaviruses are primarily spread from person-to-person through respiratory droplets.  Coronaviruses do not grow in foods, and these viruses are known to have poor survivability on surfaces; therefore, packaging of food also pose a very low risk of spreading the virus.  Federal food safety agencies remain alert to identify potential other food safety risks and inform consumers as appropriate, but it is always important for consumers to follow cooking instructions available on food packaging and labeling to ensure safe consumption of food. 
Q: What should consumers do with the food they already have at home to remain safe? 
A: Practice good kitchen habits including washing hands and surfaces often, separating raw meat from other foods, cooking foods to the right temperature, and refrigerating foods promptly when handling or preparing food (clean, separate, cook, and chill).  Rice is not a "ready to eat" food as defined by FDA (21 CFR 117.3), because it cannot be eaten raw. Rice must be cooked in boiling water for 20+ minutes prior to consumption. That cooking process kills any germs/viruses/etc. and makes it safe to eat. 

USA Rice News

  • USA Rice Daily
    COVID-19 Upends World Rice Trade Projections

    April 8, 2020

    The rice trade is no stranger to drama during any given year when you look at the impacts of extreme weather, geopolitics, or price fluctuation, however 2020 is proving to be uniquely dramatic. Full story
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  • USA Rice Daily
    USDA and FDA Receive $34.9 Billion in Third Third COVID-19 Stimulus Package

    March 27, 2020

    The $2 trillion-dollar package is intended to provide an economic band-aid amid the growing uncertainty that Americans are faced with due to the disruptions brought on by COVID-19. Full story
  • USA Rice Daily
    Consumer Resource Focuses on Food Safety

    March 25, 2020

    Please visit the USA Rice Consumer COVID-19 Resource webpage for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, and reach out to riceinfo@usarice.com should you have further questions. Full story
  • USA Rice Daily
    Cajun Comfort Food Suits Up in the Fight Against Coronavirus

    March 24, 2020

    Businesses across the country may be shut down, but one restaurant near the USA Rice office is just getting started as Bayou Bakery staff dish out free Cajun red beans and rice from their patio to anyone in the community who is hurting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Full story
  • USA Rice Daily
    Agriculture Essential Industry

    March 23, 2020

    As states develop responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, rice industry leaders are asking governors to consider the agriculture and food supply chain as they enforce directives that could inhibit essential individuals in getting rice from the field to the table, and everywhere in between. Full story