The food industry should have Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles in place to manage food safety risks and prevent food contamination. Food industry FSMS are underpinned by prerequisite programmes that include good hygiene practices, cleaning and sanitation, zoning of processing areas, supplier control, storage, distribution and transport, personnel hygiene and fitness to work – all the basic conditions and activities necessary to maintain a hygienic food processing environment. The Codex General Principles of Food Hygiene lay down a firm foundation for implementing key hygiene controls at each stage of the food processing, manufacture, and marketing chain for the prevention of food contamination.
If a food business has a FSMS and/or HACCP team established, the members of these groups need to be included in all discussions to ensure that new interventions are reviewed with food safety in mind. If a business does not have a FSMS and/or HACCP team established, then it needs to appoint one person responsible for considering whether food safety risks could arise from additional measures. This designated person must liaise with food safety authorities for advice. There is now an urgent requirement for the industry to ensure compliance with measures to protect food workers from contracting COVID-19, to prevent exposure to or transmission of the virus, and to strengthen food hygiene and sanitation practices.
The purpose of these guidelines is to highlight these additional measures so that the integrity of the food chain is maintained, and that adequate and safe food supplies are available for consumers.