Food Industry Operations in the Aftermath of COVID-19

After a global lockdown for several days, businesses around the world are gradually trying to get back on track. However, in the changed scenario caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, most of them are confused about the new social distancing and hygiene norms. As far as safety and hygiene requirements are concerned, food industry has always maintained extremely high standards. Naturally, in today’s new business environment, the job is cut out for thousands of food manufacturing, processing, and packaging companies around the world.

As per the most up-to-date scientific evidence, SARS-CoV-2 s is not transmissible via food.  However, the virus is transmissible between individuals when they are in close contact with each other. Latest research indicates that the disease spreads when infected people expel droplets while sneezing or coughing.

COVID-19 and Food Industry:

According to information available right now, the food industry is not susceptible to any kind of disruption from SARS-CoV-2 contaminated food.  However, several safety measures are essential to restrict the transmission of the virus amongst individuals working in food production, processing, packaging, and selling facilities.

Many food related businesses feel that the COVID-19 situation is deviating them from activities that were their primary duties in the pre-COVID situation. There is no denying the fact that the industry is certainly being impacted by the added duties and stresses of developing and implementing pandemic-related policies, contending with a reduced workforce, or simply staying on top of all the new restrictions.

Areas to Focus On:

Mentioned below are some of the areas any food related business should focus on during these tough days.

  • Increased absenteeism is one of the foremost concerns right now for the industry. As part of your manpower planning, explore options such as employing temporary workers or cross-training your existing employees. You may also consider moving your part-time or seasonal workers to full-time.
  • As COVID-19 doesn’t directly impact food safety, this may not be your priority right now. However, once you recruit new or cross-trained workers, it is important to make sure that this new workforce has complete understanding of your food safety requirements.
  • In the post pandemic era, several new employee health and safety norms have come to the forefront. One of the biggest challenges would be to maintain the barrier of six-foot “social distancing” between employees. Workers that are not required to wear masks as part of their jobs should now get used to with face coverings as recommended by experts.
  • Even before COVID-19, cleaning and sanitation requirements for food industry has been extensive. However, if any of your employees shows any signs of infection, immediately disinfect all areas that employee worked or contacted. As a general safety measure, you may also consider a more frequent cleaning.
  • It is also important for you to look beyond your facility, and assess your supply chain critically. Get in touch with the suppliers of your packaging materials, essential ingredients, and other critical supplies. If you operate in areas hard-hit by the virus, try to explore alternate options.

If you have any other questions related to the functioning of your food business while adhering to the new business and hygiene norms, please contact us at Lumix.