Home / News / Masking in Food Manufacturing: A Pre-Pandemic Need For Better Masks Continues
Masking in Food Manufacturing: A Pre-Pandemic Need For Better Masks Continues

Masking in Food Manufacturing: A Pre-Pandemic Need For Better Masks Continues

In the past two years, face masks have been thrust into the forefront of mainstream consciousness. People of all ages, most of whom had never donned a face mask — much less owned a mask — suddenly made it part of their everyday routine.

Even before the pandemic began, plenty of professionals were (and still are) required to wear face masks for their jobs. Additionally, food manufacture and food service employees do not have the opportunity to work from home, as they are deemed essential—requiring those individuals to continue to work in their usual workplaces as COVID-19 first gained foothold. Unfortunately, many outbreaks occurred among workers on farms and in food processing facilities, likely due to the challenge of working in close proximity. To ensure food safety and help maintain trust and consumer confidence in the availability of food, most food manufacturing and processing operation employees commonly wear face coverings (as well as gowns, hair/beard coverings and gloves) to help prevent food contamination and to mitigate the spread of germs and illness both in the workplace, and at consumer centers like restaurants and grocery stores where food is prepared or delivered.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in six Americans are impacted by foodborne illness or food poisoning every years, resulting in 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths annually due to exposure to various foodborne contaminants including salmonella, e.coli, and listeria. Dangerous germs, toxins or pathogens can get into food supplies through:

  • improper food handling
  • unsafe practices on farms
  • contamination during manufacturing or distributing
  • contamination in stores

Along with these operational challenges, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic made those employed in food operations and manufacturing even more aware of the need for quality and comfortable face coverings.

Masking in Food Manufacturing

To maintain hygienic food processing environments, many farms, plants and factories have prerequisite policies and procedures in place to manage food safety risks, including cleaning and sanitation, proper storage, climate and temperature-controlled environments, and personal hygiene expectations of workers. Food industry employees working in warehouse or factory settings can also run the risk of breathing contaminated air caused by suboptimal air ventilation. It is not uncommon for workers to endure long shifts in these environments therefore a well-fitting, comfortable and breathable respirator mask becomes a necessity.

OCTO Safety Devices designed its elastomeric OCTO Respirator Mask (ORM) to be extremely wearable, even during lengthier shifts. The silicone facial skirt provides a perfect seal to the face, accommodating a variety of face shapes and sizes. Additionally, the founders prioritized breathability when creating the ORM. A unique, pleated filter maximizes air filtration for easy inhalation and exhalation and allows for more clear and understandable communication. The OCTO Respirator Mask can also be repeatedly sterilized, disinfected, and reused with no loss in efficacy, making use and care for the product more sustainable.

Recognizing that epidemics and pandemics were an inevitability, OCTO Safety Devices set out to make a high-efficiency reusable elastomeric respirator mask that can be used and worn across many industries including food processing, construction, product manufacturing, first responders, emergency preppers, and even the DIYer community, as well as for daily activities like commuting in mass transit during flu season or spring hiking safe from seasonal allergies. The pandemic catapulted face mask wear as a form of respiratory protection from airborne toxins, pollution, pollen, mold, smoke, and other contaminants, the very truth and foundational purpose that set OCTO Safety Devices on its path to innovate respirator mask design.

Masking in Food Manufacturing

Although all across the world the hope that the deadly risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is on the decline, OCTO Safety Devices has not abandoned the thousands of people who are still required, for professional reasons, to wear masks daily —  including those in food manufacturing and food service operations.

Order an OCTO Respirator Mask today and save $20 (through the end of March 2022) upon checkout using code: ORMLOVE.