Refrigerated trucks that held the bodies of coronavirus victims amid the pandemic may return to being used for food transport after a thorough cleaning, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The FDA released a grim handbook on how to convert the big rigs back to their typical purpose of hauling food — even if blood or bodily fluids leaked inside, in some cases.
Since late March, virus hotspots like New York City used refrigerated trucks to store remains outside hospitals, morgues and funeral homes, while grappling with the growing number of deaths.
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 tucks, the document says.
In cases where “interior surfaces were in direct contact with blood or bodily fluids,” the FDA says its 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, The Post reported last month.