What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Food Production Industry?

Monday 13th December 2021

Alice Redshaw

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CONTENTS

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant many industries have had to adapt to different ways of working. Other issues, such as supply chain problems, have also had an impact on numerous sectors.

The food manufacturing industry already had strong hygiene measures in place due to the high level of risk associated with food production.

Coronavirus has meant that this industry has had to toughen up their hygiene practices even more. Read on below to find out more about how food manufacturing has been impacted by the pandemic.

Is COVID-19 transmissible through food?

There’s no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 can spread through food, nor through food packaging, according to the FDA. However, there are steps you can take if you are concerned about food contamination. You can wash your hands regularly throughout the process of handling and disposing of food, and before and after eating.

The Mayo Clinic also advises that surfaces used to prepare food should also be cleaned and disinfected once food preparation is complete. This will help to ensure a safe environment for the next time you prepare food.

The enormous strain felt by the manufacturing industry

Back when there were murmurings of the terrible impact of coronavirus, stores were hit with a nation buying goods at an alarming rate. This stockpiling caused ructions throughout the food production industry and forced supermarkets to place limits on the number of groceries consumers could buy.

Couple that with food packing factories being the source of numerous coronavirus outbreaks, it is easy to see the strain manufacturing companies were put under when expected to deliver at under full capacity.

Fast-forward a year, and the sector is still facing struggles. To try and help ease the stress caused by low staff levels during coronavirus sickness, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) introduced more widespread testing to help support the industry.

This will allow employers to monitor the COVID-19 situation more closely and get to the source of an infection as soon as it is identified during testing. Some factories also implement temperature readings for staff upon entering the facility to help stop the spread of the virus.

The effect of current supply chain issues

The Institute for Government found that this has been a central problem since the summer of 2021. Many essential food items have been short on the shelves, and other products are taking longer to be delivered to supermarkets.

Supply is not quite meeting demand. Add to this the COVID-19 measures employers in the food manufacturing industry must follow and you will soon see the difficulties in meeting raised expectations.

The restrictions imposed on employers during this difficult time has meant the industry has had to adapt and come up with innovative ways to continue operating. 20 months later, and the impacts of coronavirus continue to rumble on.

Steps to reduce COVID-19 in the workplace

There is always pressure on those working and employing staff in food production to ensure a high level of cleanliness and to prevent food contamination. This has been intensified since the COVID-19 pandemic, with even more diligent measures being required to combat the virus.

Undertaking risk assessments

Advice given by the Health & Safety Executive states that the risk of COVID-19 in the workplace should be evaluated by undertaking a risk assessment.

This gives employers the chance to see who the virus is most a threat to, or if any measures need to be put in place to tackle the illness. Speaking with staff during this process is required, and can even add useful insights into making sure the workplace is safe for everyone.

Adopting stringent hygiene measures

Getting into the routine of practicing hand washing is also an excellent idea. This means that it is safer for staff to travel throughout the workplace and interact with others at a lessened risk of spreading the virus to others.

Advising staff to wash their hands at regular intervals in the day and cleaning touchpoints will help you stay on top of workplace hygiene.

For more information on the responsibilities employers have over hygiene in the workplace, read the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.

Hiring a professional cleaning team

Possibly the single most important way to maintain a safe workplace is with a thorough food production cleaning schedule. In manufacturing this is particularly important, as the chances of cross-contamination in the production process is high.

Hiring a professional factory cleaning company like ICE Cleaning will help alleviate your concerns. Our technicians have much experience in food production cleaning and are accredited with IPAF, so can reach machinery at large heights.

With the pressure to keep food production going to feed consumer demand, having a food cleaning process in place that is organised by specialists will help reduce any added stress.

In our service, we use industry leading equipment to achieve a high level of cleanliness by the end of the clean. All of the solutions we use are non-harmful and non-abrasive, meaning that you do not need to worry about our products hurting your employees while at work.

Supplying Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to staff

Already present in food manufacturing, adorning PPE will help to protect your staff from viruses and bacteria.

It will also help with food contamination prevention. One of the main concerns employers have in regard to food safety is the possibility of cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods.

Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about the industrial cleaning services we provide, please get in touch with us on 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk.

We operate 365 days a year, and are reachable 24/7, so our customer service team are ready to help when you need it.

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