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Food Inspection & Safety

Information about food inspection and safety.

Monkeypox Homemade Food Act

Monkeypox Information for Food Industry

The CDC and other public health agencies are tracking multiple cases of monkeypox in countries that typically don't report monkeypox, including the U.S.

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox results from infection by the monkeypox virus. Other viruses within this group of viruses include the variola virus which causes smallpox.  Monkeypox, however, is considered to be milder and less infectious than smallpox.

What are the symptoms of Monkeypox?

Symptoms of monkeypox can include:

  • Flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and fatigue. These symptoms may occur before or after the rash appears, or not at all.
  • Within 1-3 days after the onset of fever, individuals infected with monkeypox develop rash, bumps, or blisters beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body.

Illness typically lasts for 2-4 weeks and resolves without treatment. Some groups, like people with a weakened immune systems, elderly, young children, and pregnant women may be at higher risk for severe outcomes if they contract monkeypox.

How is the monkeypox virus transmitted?

Monkeypox is spread through close, physical contact between individuals. This includes:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox sores or rashes on an individual who has monkeypox.
  • Respiratory droplets or oral fluids from someone with monkeypox, particularly for those who have close contact with someone or are around them for a long period of time.
  • It can also be spread through contact with objects or fabrics (e.g., clothing, bedding, towels) that have been used by someone with monkeypox.

How can I protect myself?

You can protect yourself by taking simple steps:

  • Ask your sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox-related symptoms.
  • Proper hand washing with soap and water is one of the best ways to help avoid the transmission of pathogens. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (60% or more). If your hands are visibly soiled, use soap and water before applying hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with people who have a rash, and avoid sharing dishes and eating utensils.
  • Disinfect high-touch hard, non-porous surfaces, including doorknobs, light switches and railings using an EPA-registered disinfectant with an emerging viral pathogen (EVP) claim.
  • If you are exposed or experience symptoms, make sure to reach out to a health care provider.
  • Follow reputable sources of health information, including NMDOH and CDC.

Are there treatments available?

Antiviral medications exist to treat monkeypox. Vaccines exist that can help reduce the chance and severity of infection in those who have been exposed.

Is the Monkeypox outbreak similar to COVID-19?

Monkeypox virus is a completely different virus than the virus that cause COVID-19. It is not known to linger in the air and is not transmitted during short periods of shared airspace.

What actions should food establishments take?

Food establishments should ensure that they have strong food safety programs in place and ensure employees are washing hands properly, practicing good personal hygiene, avoiding bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, staying home when sick, and are following proper cleaning and sanitation procedures.

Employee health policies should be re-examined and updated to ensure ill food workers are excluded from working in a food establishment. Allow for flexibility with work conditions in order to encourage employees, as well as family members/caregivers, with symptoms or exposure to monkeypox, to stay at home.

How should food establishments respond if an employee is diagnosed with, or suspected to have, monkeypox?

  • Employees who are diagnosed with monkeypox, suspected to have monkeypox or have symptoms of monkeypox should be excluded from working in the food establishment.
  • Employees who are suspected of having monkeypox should be medically evaluated and tested for monkeypox.
  • Employees who have symptoms of monkeypox, should talk to their healthcare provider, even if they haven't had contact with someone who has monkeypox.
  • Employees diagnosed with monkeypox should isolate away from others at home until they are fully recovered. Decisions about discontinuation of isolation and when an employee can return to work should be made in consultation with the local health department and healthcare provider.
  • Food establishments should work with their local health department to identify, notify and monitor employees who might have had close contact with the individual. It is important to note that people who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others.

Hand Hygiene and Cleaning Procedures

  • Surfaces that are contaminated, or may be contaminated, with the monkeypox virus should be cleaned and disinfected. EPA's List Q includes a list of registered disinfectants for use against Emerging Viral Pathogens (EVP), including the monkeypox virus. According to EPA's EVP guidance, the monkeypox virus is a Tier 1 (enveloped virus), therefore, disinfectants effective against the monkeypox virus are identified for use against Tier 1 viruses on EPA's List Q. Products should always be used according to the manufacturer's directions for concentration, contact time, and care and handling.
  • Hand hygiene (i.e., hand washing with soap and water or use of an alcohol-based hand rub with a concentration of 60% or more) after touching lesion material, clothing, linens, or environmental surfaces that may have had contact with lesion material.
  • Soiled dishes and eating utensils should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
  • Laundry (e.g., bedding, towels, clothing) may be washed in a standard washing machine with warm water and detergent; bleach may be added but is not necessary.

What action steps can hotels and other businesses take to help keep employees and customers healthy and help prevent the spread of monkeypox?

There are several steps businesses, particularly those within the hospitality industry, can take to help protect their employees and guests: 

  • Operators should review and reinforce infection prevention practices with employees (e.g., personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements, hand hygiene practices, proper disinfection of surfaces), and consider facilitating employee education sessions on the signs, symptoms and risk factors for contracting monkeypox.
  • Operators should ensure that hand hygiene supplies are readily available at point-of-use in pertinent locations (e.g., restrooms, kitchen or food preparation areas, high-traffic areas such as entrances and exits).
  • High-touch hard, non-porous surfaces should be disinfected using an EPA-registered disinfectant with an emerging viral pathogen claim. Eating utensils and dishes should be washed in accordance with the U.S. FDA Food Code.

Employees should wear appropriate PPE, such as disposable gloves and a well-fitting mask when cleaning or handling linen, particularly in regions known to be high risk for monkeypox or when a person suspected or confirmed to have monkeypox has occupied the area.  Ensure soiled linens are contained in a laundry bag or other receptacle and avoid shaking or handling in a manner that may disperse infectious material. Launder linens (e.g., towels, sheets, clothing) following standard laundry protocols.

CDC Resources

Additional Resources

Homemade Food Act

Beginning July 1, 2021, individuals may prepare certain food items in their private farm, ranch or residence and sell them directly to consumers without a permit. The Homemade Food Act outlines certain food safety requirements that must be met by sellers participating in the program. 

Additional information on the Homemade Food Act and requirements

If you plan to sell these items within the limits of the city of Albuquerque, you will also need a business registration. Information on business registration can be found here