In some cities such as New York City and Los Angeles, coronavirus deaths have pushed funeral homes to max capacity. In New York specifically, video has surfaced of unclaimed individuals being buried on an island right outside the city away from residential areas. Some of the claimed bodies who couldn’t fit into the city’s funeral homes have been stored in refrigerated trucks awaiting funeral arrangements and ceremonies. One Brooklyn funeral home was recently busted for storing bodies in a U-Haul truck after the owner said he ran out of space. He didn’t think this decision all the way through, obviously, as the smell was reported by the residents of the neighborhood which is what lead to the discovery of the bodies.
Now, the FDA is addressing the storage of bodies in a new handbook–but according to The New York Post, the most shocking part about this is that the storage trucks can return to hauling food after COVID-19 bodies.
“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 says.
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.
If you would like to read the handbook for yourself, you can do so here. As far as knowing what trucks were used to store bodies and what companies will be using them to haul food after the COVID-19 task is complete? The world may never know.