Health Safety Protocols in Food Processing During the Covid-19 Pandemic

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The impact of Covid-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Industries and the companies that comprise them are still reeling from these effects. They need to take precautionary measures and follow minimum health safety standards to ensure the safety of the food supply chain, the industry, the businesses, and the workers. What steps should the food processing industry take to ensure the security of its manufacturing plants?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes the importance of keeping the workplace well-sanitized, hygienic, and safe. Even without the threat of Covid-19, food manufacturing factories should follow proper hygienic and food safety protocols to ensure the uninterrupted flow of food supply. The most important protocol to enforce is the assurance that employees do not and cannot spread Covid-19. But, how will that be possible without having to swab-test them all the time?

Information Overload

Will a massive information drive change the way people think about the effects of Covid-19? Although there are some doubts about the coronavirus, information overload will not hurt anyone or any industry. Make sure that your workers understand the risk that they take when they go to work. It’s the same risks they take when they commute or go to the grocery store. This is not only about how the pandemic will affect the business but about how it will impact their lives, too.

Make sure that information is available to your employees. Send and post as many resources as possible, so they are fully aware of what they are taking on when they attend to their tasks. Post these in your office, too. It is important to drown workers in information about the virus—how it spreads, how to diagnose it, what treatments are available, and how to protect themselves from it.

Hygiene

Coronavirus spreads because of poor hygiene. Training your employees to clean their workspace will ensure that the virus will not spread in the workplace. It’s as simple as that. In a food processing business, hygiene, sanitation, and health safety is vital to the security of everyone’s health. Companies can make sure of that by cleaning and sanitizing all machines, equipment, and components that touch the food.

One of the most popular pieces of equipment in a food processing factory is the batter-depositing machine. Self-cleaning equipment is popular. This does not mean, however, that you will depend on technology alone to clean and sanitize these components. Make sure that there is a routine schedule for disinfecting the workspace and the various components that make up the area.

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Self-check

Are your employees aware of the symptoms they should watch out for? Do they know that they shouldn’t try to come to work when they have fever, cough, and shortness of breath? Your employees should learn not to dismiss these symptoms as seasonal flu. Although there is a chance that it’s a simple flu, no one should take that risk because it will impact the whole workforce.

It takes only one person to come to work while having Covid-19 symptoms to spread the virus to the other workers. So, how about asymptomatic carriers? It is almost impossible to know if a person is asymptomatic. What your workers can do is take extra precautions by wearing face masks and face shields. These two protective gears will ensure that respiratory droplets will not accidentally reach the surface of the workspace, as well as the food products.

Who should provide personal protective equipment (PPE)? Business owners should provide the protective gear—full PPE suit, gloves, masks, and face shield. The PPE is required at all times, including when taking out the trash. Removing gowns and gloves can cause contamination, so this should be done carefully.

Technology

Using technology is perhaps one of the most important ways to protect the workplace from Covid-19 contamination. Disinfectant chemicals, UV light, and air purifiers are some of the devices that your business can invest in. Although evidence of their effectivity against Covid-19 is not clear, you lose nothing by having these technologies in your workplace. Food manufacturing factories can also use data analytic tools to help in analyzing the efficiency of the health protocols and processes.

Right now, there is no clear evidence of food or food packaging and their association with the transmission of Covid-19. There is no confirmed case of a person becoming ill after contracting the virus through food. If food workers get sick, the most important thing is for them to isolate themselves. If you’re worried about asymptomatic carriers, your health safety protocols should take care of that.

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