COVID-19 and the New Zealand Fresh Produce Industry

We are keeping a watching brief on COVID-19 and the impact it is having or may have on our industry and our people.

We are gathering and disseminating information as it becomes available to assist United Fresh members with best practice and business continuity.


COVID-19 Hand-washing Poster - March 2020

A Guide to Keeping Our People & Workplaces Well - Unite against COVID-19 

Download United Fresh COVID-19 Continuity Planning for Businesses as at 25 March 2020

This document will be updated as we receive new information from Government officials.


Alert Level 4 - Takes effect Wednesday 25th March at 11:59PM for at least four weeks:















Food Safety:

According to the NZ Food Safety Science & Research Centre and MPI, so far, there is no evidence that humans have been infected by swallowing the virus in or on food or drink, though it has been found in a small number of faecal samples. The strong acid in the stomach is thought to destroy this type of virus.

The European Food Safety Authority have also stated: There is no evidence that food is a likely source or root transmission of COVID-19.


Key Information from MPI:

Register for Safe Practice

MPI now needs assurances from industries and businesses that their processes protect workers and the public by limiting interactions and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.

If you provide an essential service MPI require you to register with them. Questions operators can ask themselves before registering:

  • Do you have 5 or fewer people (including the owner) working at each business site?
  • Can you achieve social distancing measures between staff in your workplace, including travelling, to and from work?
  • If you answer YES to both of those questions, then you do not need to fill in the form.


MPI key advice for food businesses (including the pan-fresh fruit and vegetable industry) is that “it is unlikely that COVID-19 can be transmitted through food, and there isn’t evidence to date of this happening. It is more important than ever that food businesses apply strict food preparation and hygiene practices.

For more COVID-19 food safety information and updates, visit

Where businesses want to take extra measures to protect their staff and customers, they should do so in line with Ministry of Health advice on social distancing and limiting the spread of the virus – contact the Healthline team on 0800 358 5453, visit, or the all of Government COVID-19 website”.


Key Websites & Information

Unite Against COVID-19 - Government Platforms:


COVID-19 Economic Response Package, link here.

EMA - Obligations for Employers to manage Novel Coronavirus, link here.

MBIE - Information for Businesses, link here.

NZTE - Information for Exporters, link here.


Available Documents and Posters

Physical Distancing Poster - March 2020

Download Physical Distancing Poster - March 2020




Literature Review on Foodborne Transmission of COVID-19 - March 2020

This document is now available for United Fresh members in the member-only section. If you require a log in please email

Once logged in, it is stored in the Resource Centre (located under the Resources tab)


COVID-19 Hand-washing Poster - March 2020

United Fresh Hand-washing Poster - March 2020

Download COVID-19 Hand-washing Poster - March 2020




COVID-19 (Cornoavirus) Prevention and Handwashing Poster

Download COVID-19 Prevention and Handwashing Poster

  • 30 Mar 2020

    United Fresh Urges Kiwis to Eat More Fresh Produce and to Wash It First

    New Zealanders can safely purchase fresh fruit and vegetables during COVID-19 and our country’s only pan-produce organisation that represents the entire value-chain, United Fresh, is reminding Kiwis to wash all produce as you normally would by rinsing it under the tap before consuming it.

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  • 27 Mar 2020

    COVID-19 Update - MPI Starts Site Visits & Physical Distancing Poster

    MPI starting site visits today, Friday 27th March and United Fresh Physical Distancing poster shared.

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  • 26 Mar 2020

    MPI answers key COVID-19 questions for fresh fruit and vegetable industry

    MPI answers questions about 2m distancing rule, access to protection equipment, workers over 70, independant F&V shops and movement to & from work.

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  • 25 Mar 2020

    COVID-19 Update - MPI's Register for Safe Practice and Fruit & Vegetable Shops Closing

    As New Zealand moves into National Alert Level 4 in response to COVID-19, the primary industries have been included on the list of essential services and fruit and vegetable stores to close.

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  • 25 Mar 2020

    COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and UF Guide to Business Continuity

    COVID Alert Level 4 Description & United Fresh Guide to Keeping Our People & Workplaces Well – Continuity Planning for Businesses 

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  • 23 Mar 2020

    COVID-19 Alert Level 3

    The government has now put New Zealand into Alert Level 3 (and indicated that this will go to Alert Level 4 in 48 hours).

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  • 23 Mar 2020

    COVID-19 Alert Level 2 Update – Government Asks Commerce Commission For Flexibility

    As we all work together as a nation and industry to contain the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to help protect our people, United Fresh will continue to provide updates for our industry to assist with business continuity.

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  • 19 Mar 2020

    COVID-19 Update including New Government Information Platforms

    The government has created a website that has everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place.

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  • 17 Mar 2020

    Literature Review - Foodborne Transmission of COVID-19

    Our colleagues at the New Zealand Food Safety Science & Research Centre (NZFSSRC) have shared their Literature Review on Foodborne Transmission of COVID-19 for the food industry.

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  • 05 Mar 2020

    COVID-19 Update for United Fresh Members

    We are all very concerned about the potential impact  COVID-19 could have on our businesses. The purpose of this update is to distil the key messages of what we need to consider.

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