Mzansi Agriculture Talk

Covid-19 Watch

COVID 19 and the food industry

While many businesses were reopening for the sale of goods under the eased lockdown three regulations, the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) however warned of food safety standards being compromised.

“Businesses needed to comply with safety standards and protocols set out by the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to protect employees and customers during trade” said Dr Ahman Mzanderani

Dr Ahmad said there was no scientific evidence that suggest COVID-19 was spread through food. 

Nigel Sunley, an expert on food science, said efforts by regulators to place strict regulations was necessary but consumer education was also imperative.

“It is all well and good to have ‘essential goods & services’ status, but spare a thought for the practical difficulties faced by labour-intensive operations in particular; where providing those goods and services in an acceptable manner is complicated by the imperative to provide adequate protection to employees, and the related costs” he was quoted.

The burden placed on food suppliers and retailers to ensure all safety protocols where adhered too showed COVID-19 narrative unrestricted partiality.

Government found itself between a hard place and rock. While restrictions placed on food retail stores served a purpose, a new norm of people ordering junk food online could also put strain on nutritional programmes promoted by government.  

“It is clear that people under Covid-19 lockdown and related stresses are looking for comfort and gratification and have indulged in higher consumption of snack foods, confectionery and similar items” said Sunley.

According to Sunley, the COVID-19 and the food science reality provided an opportunity to focus on health education and eating habits of the public.

NICD advised food stores to ensure their premises had proper working procedures which “encourage minimum contact between employees and customers, as well as the provision of hand sanitizers and face masks for use at work is critical.”

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Mzansi Agriculture Talk.

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