Refrigerated trucks used to store dead bodies amid the coronavirus may return to being used to transport food in the US.
The US Food and Drug Administration said on Wednesday after they released a grim handbook on how to convert the big rigs back to their typical purpose of hauling food — even if blood or other bodily fluids leaked inside, in some cases.
Worst hit US cities like New York used refrigerated trucks to store remains outside hospitals, morgues and funeral homes, while grappling with the growing number of deaths.
According to The New York Post, the owners of those trucks apparently asked whether they can now go back to using them for their original purpose — so the FDA released recommendations on how to do so safely.
“Refrigerated food transport vehicles and refrigerated food storage units used for the temporary preservation of human remains during the COVID-19 pandemic subsequently can be safely used for food transport and food storage under certain circumstances,”
The guidance reads.
All surfaces must be “thoroughly cleaned and [then] disinfected,” perhaps several times, with EPA-registered cleaners. Air and water sprays shouldn’t be used and workers may need to wear protective gear while cleaning the trucks,”
The document adds.
In cases where “interior surfaces were in direct contact with blood or bodily fluids,” the FDA says it’s OK as long as the contaminated area isn’t made out of a material that can’t be properly disinfected, like unfinished wood or cracked fiberglass.
If the vehicle
“is permeated by offensive odors that cannot be eliminated through cleaning and disinfecting,” then it should also be tossed, the guidance said.
Some of the trucks used in the Big Apple were said to be dark, dirty and packed with bodies stacked atop one another.