International Guidance for Food Manufacturers During COVID-19
Food Focus has published an overview of international guidedance for food manufacturers during the COVID-19 crisis. In the following article you will learn how both countries and public authorities deal with the current situation.
In Europe, where the full brunt of COVID-19 was felt earlier than in the USA, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a statement on March 9, 2020 aimed at calming consumer fears of potentially contracting the virus from food. ESFA's chief scientist noted that transmission through food consumption did not occur during previous outbreaks or related coronaviruses, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) and Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), and there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 virus is any different in this respectt. Nevertheless, EFSA noted precautionary recommendations on good hygiene practices, including advice on food handling and preparation, outlined by the World Health Organization (WHO). There is a long list of FAQ's to help you:
The UK government posted some specific guidance for the food industry in March. Your questions about how to apply social distancing, how to manage cleaning are all addressed. All sectors of the food chain are also considered which is helpful. You can access that information here:
Food standards Scotland has some good ideas and a great hand washing video you can use.
The Irish are even better - look at their advice here:
The FDA also addressed COVID-19 concerns for food products, among several other topics, on a Q&A website, updated on March 13, 2020. FDA acknowledges it is possible that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on surfaces or objects but states there is currently no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. While making no specific new recommendations, FDA's Q&A points to the regulation of restaurants and retail food establishments at the state and loal and notes that FDA-regulated food manufacturers are required to maintain clean facilities, including, as appropriate, clean and sanitized food contact surfaces, and to have food safety plans. Updated guidelines were issued last week.
In addition to this, the USDA has specific information for meat and other agricultural products.
More from the USA
Above and beyond this, private companies like FMI - The Food industry Association in the USA have an amazing free page where you can download guidance documents, pandemic preparedness checklists and more. You should download their guidance documents!
Further North in the land of ice and snow, you can find some other pointers:
Canada offers great sector specific advice for the dairy industry - but we can alle use it. Check it out here:
More from Canada
Canada can also assist if you want to know what to do about COVID 19 in an abattoir have a look here:
Australia is always a good place to look for advice - try these down under government pages to make sure you have the right measures in place in your food business:
Here is a great post on what to do if one of your employees tests positive for coronavirus:
This article is reproduced with permission from Food Focus.
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