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COVID-19, lockdown and food safety

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) the global pandemic which officially started last year in China Wuhan, although they have been a lot of scandals regarding the pandemics and its origin, that is not the focus of this write-up.

According to WHO ‘’ Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)’’. It is Obvious that this pandemic has affected things like movements, Jobs, Events, gatherings and so on. Above all, I will like to discuss how it has affected food safety and Security. 

I have seen a lot of questions online such as ‘’What is the risk of COVID-19 infection from food products?’’ ‘’As a food business operator, can I ask for guarantees from my suppliers regarding COVID-19?’’, and ‘’Is the agri-food industry taking measures to avoid the contamination of the food they produce or distribute?’’ to mention a few.  So has the EU commission answered all these questions for food safety? My focus in this blog piece is to elaborate a bit on the scarcity of food for the first 2 months where I live due to panic shopping.

A lot of things went wrong from February to March 2020 in terms of shopping. Many went hungry just because some people decided to clear the shop counters by over purchasing due to panic ( I was also a victim). Now after this period, some food products started appearing in the grocery stores again, a different kind of product actually, this gave people a different mindset that the food wasn’t healthy and that they were just shopping to meet their needs, but the qualities were quite poor because some were without packaging some were without label and so on. 

For food that was always available like the fresh hard bread which was always opened all year round (no packaging), and people have been buying them without thinking it was contaminated, people started taking notice and then the government made a law for those kinds of food to be well packaged and covered. Other necessary procedures were also put in place like people who work with food must wear hand gloves, use and availability of disinfectants at the entrance of every store and the practice of social distancing everywhere. 

The lack of food safety during this period was a very important aspect to look out for as everyone was watching out for their health and safety. Thanks to the early response of the active government in the Czech Republic the right procedures and measures were put in place which really helped in reducing the spread of the virus through food and every other means, of course, some developing countries might not have the opportunity to overcome this crisis regarding food safety because they are not well prepared or not organized enough to avoid the lack of food safety. I believe this will be over soon and we all can get our normal life back, stay safe and healthy!

Picture credit: Winnipeg sun