Food Packaging and Coronavirus: What are the risks?
Food packaging hygiene has never been more important than in the present state of COVID-19 panic. In theory, it is possible that you may catch coronavirus from food or food packaging made from plastic, paper or cardboard. If that packaging has been exposed to a strain of the virus, it may survive for hours, up to days, and could infect you via tactile or oral contact with the packaging.
Coronavirus strains are particularly resilient at lower temperatures. Lower temperatures are often found in the transport industry when frozen food items are being moved around the country. If someone coughed or sneezed onto a patch of material used to cover fruit or vegetables, for example, and another person touched or licked that part of the packaging one to two hours after, they could certainly test positive for the disease.
The most common way strains of COVID-19 spread is via direct person to person contact. Breathing, coughing or sneezing can transmit the virus. However, it may be possible that a person can receive transmission of COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it. It’s not the main route of transmission the virus prefers, but it is a valid reason to take extra precautions and maintain strong food packaging hygiene.
Ensure that your food handling employees all wear gloves and face masks at all times. Communicate to your employees that sickness means you must stay at home at all costs.
If someone sneezes or coughs on a piece of food covered by packaging, do not continue to ship that item. Instead, toss the item out immediately in the name of public health. This should be done because coronavirus is spread via droplets produced when a person speaks, breaths, coughs or sneezes. The particles that are produced may stick around for some time and infect others, so should therefore be incinerated promptly.
The World Health Organization has said that the risk of transmission of coronavirus via food packaging is extremely low. There is certainly no need to disinfect food packaging before use, just make sure employees wash their hands with soap and water before working in the food packaging process. Use sanitiser as much as possible when possible and wash your hands when you return home. Social distancing should also be maintained at all times to reduce the risk of infection during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s safe to use grocery delivery services during this pandemic, however you should always wash your hands after accepting deliveries. Some experts make further recommendations that plastic bags should only be used once to inhibit the spread of COVID-19.
How To Improve The Hygiene Of My Food Packaging?
You can improve the hygiene score of the food packaging materials your business uses by investing in biodegradable materials. These are widely available and require very little change to your business, no matter how traditional you are.
Similarly, less obtuse food packages are respected by safety inspectors and consumers. When designing food packaging, consider that less is more when the environmental impact of your food packaging is at stake.
In saying this, be sure to use packaging materials that are solid and durable. Bacteria will swarm all over food the minute there is a breach in the packaging. In order to remain compliant with food packaging regulations, always use a provider with a good reputation for providing strong packaging.
Furthermore, for best hygiene practice, separate packaged and non packaged foods in your food store. This is done in order to reduce the risk of infection or bacterial contamination. The risk of airborne cross contamination, or contact between raw produce can result in serious consequences for both the customer and business owner.
Packaging is a key aspect of any food produce business. From raw to cooked food, it is vital for storage and transportation alike.
If you’re struggling to improve your packaging standards, or would like to know more about how successful packaging could help your business, contact Lumix FPS today.
Contact Lumix FPS Today
Lumix FPS is a premium Australian supplier of food packaging items to the food industry. We have been watching the coronavirus situation closely and have continued to maintain good hygiene practices in our office and warehouse throughout the pandemic. Feel free to contact us with any questions you have about our food safety and packaging materials.
We operate Monday to Friday between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm. Call us on 02 9792 7700 today to have a quick chat about your food packaging requirements. We’ll demonstrate our exceptional customer service when discussing our products with you. Contact us today and experience the difference with food processing products provided by Lumix FPS.