Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which is caused by the novel coronavirus, has been declared a pandemic by World Health Organization (WHO). The disease is transmitted from person to person primarily through close contact with one another, and respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. In the absence of a known cure for the disease, all efforts are towards the prevention of the spread of this disease from person to person.
Although there is currently no evidence that food is a likely source or route of transmission of COVID-19 virus, it is important to take all precautions to prevent any possibility of person to person spread of C0VID-19 infection during the food business operations.
As a routine, various hygienic and sanitary measures mandatorily to be followed by food business operators are specified in Schedule IV of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011. These measures are primarily aimed at ensuring safe, clean and wholesome food, which is indispensable to the health and welfare of consumers. Nevertheless, COVID-19 situation demands implementation of some additional focussed measures mainly to prevent human-to- human spread of the disease in food business operations and also to reduce the likelihood of contamination of various materials in contact with food such as equipment, and packaging materials among others.
In view of the above, FSSAI has developed detailed guidance on specific measures that can be taken by various types of food businesses in addition to those specified in the Schedule IV of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations 2011, to prevent spread of COVID-19 during such food business operations.
These specific measures, detailed in the document, include maintaining high levels of personal hygiene, excluding COVID-19 infected persons from the operations, practicing social distancing, and appropriate cleaning or sanitization of the food operations’ premises, food contact materials and others. The document is primarily intended for all types of food businesses, including food service, transport and retail operations.
The guidance has been developed based on the best practices currently recognized and adopted internationally. Click here to see Guidance Note on COVID-19