As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the international food industry faces a multitude of new challenges. We are challenged by a new economic environment, we are challenged by rapidly changing patterns of supply and demand and we desperately want to keep our workers safe, while continuing to feed the people of the world. Food Fraud Advisors wishes everyone well in these interesting times, and provides a collection of resources that we hope you will find helpful.
COVID’s Impacts on Food and Agricultural Supply Chains and Markets (July 2020)
The pandemic and associated economic impacts have affected global commodity markets worldwide. Jayson Lusk (Purdue University), John D. Anderson (University of Arkansas) and dozens of co-contributors have authored a paper that dives deeply into the pandemic’s impacts on multiple sectors including food service, food retail, meat processing, labour supply issues, food waste, food security and consumer behaviour. Published on 30 June, it is available to download for free from here: https://www.cast-science.org/publication/economic-impacts-of-covid-19-on-food-and-agricultural-markets/
Cleaning and sanitising chemicals
At the time of writing, there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmissible via food. This means that within a food business, surfaces that are in contact with FOOD (not surfaces that are contacted by people), can continue to be cleaned and sanitised using normal food industry best practices. Surfaces that are contacted by people will need to be cleaned and decontaminated more frequently to protect workers and customers. This recently published scholarly article provides good guidance about disinfectants that work well and those which don’t work so well for inactivating the novel coronavirus.
Inactivation of human coronaviruses with disinfectant agents
Kampf. G (2020), Potential role of inanimate surfaces for the spread of coronaviruses and their inactivation with disinfectant agents: “In a recent review on the persistence of human and veterinary coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces it was shown that human coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) coronavirus, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus or endemic human coronaviruses (HCoV) can persist on inanimate surfaces like metal, glass or plastic for up to 9 days. Some disinfectant agents effectively reduce coronavirus infectivity within 1 minute such 62%–71% ethanol, 0.5% hydrogen peroxide or 0.1% sodium hypochlorite. Other compounds such as 0.05%–0.2% benzalkonium chloride or 0.02% chlorhexidine digluconate are less effective.
Find useful information about risk assessments, contingency planning for production and hand washing, among other things, in this comprehensive article by Food Quality and Safety Magazine:
Contingency Planning and Pandemic Preparedness Checklist
The USA Food Industry Association (FMI) has curated a huge volume of useful resources on their website, including a pandemic preparedness checklist. Find these resources here:
Food Fraud in the COVID pandemic
It is highly likely that food fraud will increase during the pandemic and related economic downturn. Food fraud is driven by the desire for economic gain, which most commonly manifests as an attempt to receive more money when a food is sold. In addition to direct economic gains, there are less direct methods that criminals use to derive financial rewards from food fraud, such as by avoiding taxes and duties, or by acting dishonestly to fulfill customer orders so as not to lose their business. For fraud to occur there also needs to be opportunity. Current events in the global food market and in the wider economy are increasing both the desire for economic gains and also the number of opportunities to commit food fraud. Read more about the influence of the pandemic on food fraud here.
Keeping your workers safe
Intertek Alchemy have created a free video training course for front line food manufacturing workers to ensure they know how to:
• Mitigate the spread of the coronavirus
• Recognize symptoms and protect ourselves from respiratory illnesses
• Prevent transmission to others
Make your own custom hand washing poster
We all know the importance of washing hands correctly. Posters can be good reminders, but they need to change frequently or they stop catching the attention of employees. PosterMyWall has customisable handwashing poster templates so you can add your own twist to your next order of hand washing posters.
Perhaps you have heard the advice to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ while you wash your hands to easily time the duration? This fun free site allows you to quickly generate hand washing infographics based on your favourite song lyrics.
Learn new skills from home
Our online, on-demand training courses have helped thousands of food safety professionals learn about the risks posed by food fraud, and how to mitigate those risks. Learn at your own pace, from the comfort of your own home. If you or your company are short of cash right now, write to us for a hefty 50% discount on our courses.