April 2020 was an unprecedented month in history as much of the globe’s economy came to a halt as measures to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 grew.
The ramifications of these actions have affected all industries, including essential services such as the food industry.
As these consequences develop, below is a snapshot of some of the most prominent news stories concerning the Coronavirus Covid-19, as well as other important news, that may have otherwise been headline news in any other month.
COVID-19 guidance issued by US CDC, WHO, FAO, BRCGS and more
Multiple authorities and organizations have issued guidance in response to the challenges of COVID-19.
While each guidance advocates for caution, there are differences in the consideration and methodology that may be pertinent depending on the environment to which they are being applied.
Some examples of this guidance are:
FDA and EU alter policies and controls in response to COVID-19 challenges
Due to the impact that COVID-19 has had on public health, the FDA has issued guidance to Accredited Bodies to allow Certified Bodies under their programs to ease requirements and permission to reissue certificates for up to 12 months.
The policy is a temporary measure and only expected to remain in effect until the end of the public health emergency.
Elsewhere, in the EU, temporary measures have been enacted in response to the challenges as well.
President Trump orders US meat plants to remain open
US President Donald Trump has enacted an executive order under the Defense Production Act which will require meat manufacturing factories to remain open.
At the time of writing, more than 20 plants had closed in response to the challenges of COVID-19, impacting more than 35,000 workers and affecting the meat supply chain.
Canada increases funding for inspection during Covid-19 crisis
The Canadian government has taken measures to ensure inspections within its borders continue by increasing funding to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
An additional $20m CAD has been released to the CFIA and will be used for hiring and training, as well as equipping staff with the support and materials they need to continue inspections.
EU report calls for a policy-shift towards a sustainable food system
The results of a report which may affect the EU’s upcoming ‘Farm to Fork strategy for a sustainable food system’ has recommended that food production must develop towards a more circular economy to meet sustainability demands.
The report, conducted by the Science Advice for Policy by European Academics, estimates that food waste annually totals €900bn in economic and €800bn in social costs per year.
The report offers a number of recommendations and considerations for a policy-led shift in changing consumption towards food and reiterates the importance of coordinated efforts by governments and local stakeholders in land-based and marine environments.
Avian influenza confirmed in the US
The first case of avian influenza since 2017 has been detected among a commercial turkey flock in South Carolina.
The discovery of the highly pathogenic H7N3 HPAI is not thought to pose an immediate public health concern.
Brazilian chicken and pork exports increase
Chicken meat exports have grown 2.6% year-on-year, however, although the volume has grown, the total value of the exports has decreased.
Quarterly comparisons between 2019 and 2020 reveal that exports have grown by 8.8% and now total 1.021 million tons, and traded at $1.635 USD bn, an increase of 6%.
Pork exports have also grown significantly and are 56% higher in March 2020 than they were the year previously, and 32% higher for the quarter.
As a result, Brazilian pork export revenues have increased by 62.6%, rising from $298.3m to $485.1m USD.