Interim guidance from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in food manufacturing facilities is now available to all Safefood 360° users as a free-to-access checklist.
Unlike other industries, it may not be possible for many involved in food manufacturing to work remotely given the nature of their operations.
However, ensuring the safety of personnel in the supply chain is paramount to helping maintain the integrity of the food chain as it works under unprecedented challenges.
There is now an urgent requirement for food manufacturers to demonstrate operational processes comply with social protection measures in order to best protect workers from the risk of contracting COVID-19.
The World Health Organization guidance for food businesses offers advice and measures that food businesses (both retail and manufacturing) can implement in support of existing food safety best practices to ensure the integrity of the food chain is maintained at all stages.
Caveats to the guidance
Although it is highly unlikely that COVID-19 can be contracted from food or food packaging, the guidance acknowledges that precautionary steps need to be taken within manufacturing environments as the virus may remain viable on surfaces for differing lengths of time.
*Disclaimer: This research was performed under laboratory conditions with controlled humidity and temperature and should be considered with caution in real-life environments.
The guidance also reinforces the importance of sustained stringent sanitation and hygienic practices to reduce the risk of food surfaces and packaging materials becoming contaminated, as well as the correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to mitigate its spread.
What is in the guidance?
The guidance provides practical advice and considerations for multiple areas throughout operations, including:
- Symptoms overview
- Fitness appraisals
- Illness reporting procedures
- Hygienic practice recommendations
- Best practice for correct glove use
- Physical distancing guidelines
- Delivery precautions and advice for limiting external contact
- Retail-specific advice
- Staff canteen considerations
How to use the checklist in Safefood 360°?
A checklist utilizing the above advice from the WHO is now available to all users of Safefood 360° for immediate application.
These can be accessed from within the system starting today and applied in your manufacturing facility.
If you are not currently a platform user, or would like to know more information about using Safefood 360° to enforce the strength of your Food Safety Management System in response to the challenges of COVID-19, please leave a comment below or contact us for further information.