Amid a spate of coronavirus outbreaks continuing to sweep through food production sites, Bureau Veritas has stated that hyper vigilance and ongoing pursuit of best-in-class prevention measures are essential as the food industry enters its second phase of pandemic recovery.
Earlier this week, it emerged that up to 200 workers have been told to self-isolate on a farm in Herefordshire where they pick crops after 73 of them tested positive for coronavirus1. It comes just weeks another leading food manufacturer in Wales confirmed 200 cases, swiftly closing the plant as a result of the outbreak.
According to Bureau Veritas, with food production being one of the first industries to implement coronavirus control measures, it’s now in its second phase of controlling the spread of the virus post-lockdown – which means the sector’s ability to respond rapidly and evolve daily practices will ultimately determine its economic recovery from the pandemic.
Tracy Wain, Food Safety Technical Manager at Bureau Veritas, comments: “As we continue to adjust to life post-lockdown, the food production sector is one of the industries now entering its second phase of effectively managing the risks from COVID 19 while pressing ahead with its plans for economic recovery.
“While recent outbreaks reiterate the need for hyper vigilance, there’s also a unique opportunity for the industry to lead the way in implementing best-in-class coronavirus prevention measures and making positive changes to how the food industry operates indefinitely. Fundamentally, this requires businesses to take an evolving approach – based on daily monitoring and adaptation of organisational practices. Doing this has never been more important in an effort to help to keep vital plants and food services operational and therefore shoring up the sector’s economic bounce back.”
Some of the key areas to focus on, says Bureau Veritas, include having a clear plan in place on how to manage potential outbreaks while considering business continuity, and developing and monitoring risk assessments based on safe and manageable expectations.
Wain adds: “With many businesses still adapting to the changing requirements for coronavirus controls it is essential that the industry keeps safe when meeting customer demands.
“Whilst this isn’t yet an exact science, we’re seeing some great work being done not only from industry collaboration between the likes of the Food Standards Agency, Health and Safety Executive and Public Health England but also from consultation with third party independent authorities such as Bureau Veritas.”
As part of its commitment to helping the food industry navigate the coronavirus pandemic, Bureau Veritas will be hosting a free webinar on Thursday 23 July at 13:00 on food safety, hygiene and effectively managing the spread of the virus. The webinar will cover current government and industry guidelines, how to manage outbreaks, and will feature a Q&A session with the expert Food Safety team.
To find out more about Bureau Veritas’ Food Safety, Hygiene and Risk Management in the ‘New Normal’ webinar call 0345 600 1828 or visit: https://bureauveritas.zoom.us/webinar/register/3215942821940/WN_Xr4OyGb9QJClJ37p6zAKaQ .