COVID-19: General & Food Safety Guidance

Last updated 17 August 2020

Information on the extent of transmission of the Coronavirus and the development of the world’s understanding of the nature of transmission is changing daily. To assist, we are working on collating information that will support the food industry during this time.

We understand the pressure you’re facing to produce and supply safe food to all South Africans and want to make it easy for you to maintain production and the constant flow of goods. However you’re feeling and wherever you are, we are just a call away.

We welcome your calls, questions and concerns, and encourage you to communicate with us by calling +27 21 882 9883 or emailing [email protected]

Information overload can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed, specifically trying to keep up with all the COVID-19 related webinars in the Food Industry. We at FACTS have collected and compiled a table with webinars, podcasts and media brief’s relating to COVID-19 we could find and present them together for you in one place.


Trusted sources for updated information regarding Covid-19

Since the national status of the coronavirus pandemic changes rapidly, please ensure you research and follow trusted local and international sources for updated information . South Africa has published a regulation with strict rules regarding the spread of fake news and misinformation. FACTS support the South African Government’s efforts and pledge to ensure that you are informed with the correct information.

We are here to help

Our FACTS team is committed to supporting your management decisions with evidence-based information as you integrate organisational solutions to maintain your business output whilst we work together to flatten the curve. Rest assured, we stand by you – for us it’s business as usual. Here are some of the things we have put in place to ensure we maintain our service levels to you during his critical time.

Please note that it is a requirement that all couriers that have been deemed as essential services MUST attach a copy of their CIPC certificate to each sample shipment. Please download our CIPC certificate here to accompany yours.


Essential regulations for essential services

The national lockdown has meant a huge learning curve for most of us throughout industry, and has also generated many questions. People are uncertain whether they are ‘essential service’ suppliers or not. There is also confusion regarding what exactly are considered ‘essential goods / services’.

It is important that you have all the relevant regulations and the applicable amendments on hand, to ensure that the information you are basing your practice on is correct. To see the regulation for level 3, click on the following link:

For all the regulations and guidelines under the Disaster Management Act, you can find them here

Innovation in the food industry during COVID-19

We are currently entering uncharted waters. But with each day of the COVID-19 pandemic that passes, we learn more about the challenges and triumphs of the food industry. It’s true that many projects and services in the industry have come to an abrupt halt; but we are still uncertain whether the current climate encourages or stunts innovation.

Myth-buster | Immune function and infection risks relating to COVID-19

With a deluge of information constantly circulating due to the current state of flux and confusion secondary to COVID-19, there are a number of ‘immune-boosting’ foods and supplements being marketed. Here, we dispel a few myths we have seen regarding immune function and infection risk relating to COVID-19.


Covid-19 strategies for managing food supply-chain risks

It seems that the world over, we’re all scrambling to gain an understanding of what COVID-19 means to our industry. There is currently no evidence to support that the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 is associated with food. The virus, however, will potentially have a secondary effect on food safety, security, and the supply chain due to its occupation health risk profile.

When it comes to developing strategies around managing food supply-chain risk, we should consider gaining insights into international thinking around how to manage food-supply chain risks during the pandemic. Please find our summary of a Decernis webinar which provides you with useful resources relating to food fraud and supply chain risks.

What is next on the agenda for food fraud pre-, during and post-COVID-19?

In the last few years we’ve seen authorities clamping down on local businesses selling non-perishable goods beyond their best-before date, as well as counterfeit products. With COVID-19 currently presenting as an occupational hazard for the food industry, will food fraud pose a greater danger to vulnerabilities in the industry in the aftermath of the pandemic?


COVID-19 and food safety: guidance for food businesses

Food industry personnel do not have the opportunity to work from home, and are required to continue to work at their usual workplaces. Keeping all workers in food production and supply chains healthy and safe is critical to surviving the current pandemic. Maintaining the movement of food along the food chain is an essential function, to which all stakeholders along the food chain need to contribute. This is also required to maintain trust and consumer confidence in the safety and availability of food. The WHO issued a guidance document for food businesses on 7 April. You can read the WHO guidance document here.

DoH Director of Food Control statement relating to food control during lockdown

Penny Campbell, DoH Director of Food Control, has issued a statement on food control during lockdown. The statement included some important points:
COVID-19 is not a food safety issue. There is no evidence to date of viruses that cause respiratory illness being transmitted via food or food packaging. Coronaviruses cannot multiply in food; they need an animal or human host to multiply.
DoH Food Control has indicated that it is business as usual, albeit under unusual conditions, for food control during lockdown and after the lockdown period. This includes hand hygiene protocols, measures and messages, insofar as they relate to food production, handling, distribution and sale.
DoH Food Control also emphasised the urgency required of the food 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. This is is critical to surviving the current pandemic.


Coronavirus and Food Transmission – Clearing the air

There is much confusion regarding the risk of transmission of this new coronavirus via meat and other food products and we have received many queries relating to the issue: from the risk of food fraud to questions about the consumption of meat and testing for the virus. We have compiled a helpful Coronavirus Food Transmission article to give some clarity around what the coronavirus is and whether it can be spread through meat or animals.

Covid-19 on surfaces: what do we know so far?

COVID-19 is spread via respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets may be transferred to healthy individuals through direct contact – or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, nose or eyes. What is the potential risk in food production facilities? Is there a concern for food and food packaging? And does the virus remain viable for longer on certain surfaces?

Useful disinfectants for SARS-CoV-2

Recent studies have identified the risk of SARS-CoV-2 transmission via surfaces, indicating the need for frequent and effective cleaning. But what cleaning agents are best suited to the inactivation of the novel coronavirus?

Hand hygiene

Hand hygiene is an essential, one of the most important practices in our daily lives. Where health is concerned, it crosses the borders of all industries. We look at hand hygiene practices in the food industry – personnel practices, and which hand-washing solution is the best. And what you dry your hands with also makes a difference!

Effectiveness of and requirements for face-masks

The use of masks to reduce the spread of COVID-19 has been a controversial topic the world over. The South African National Department of Health has released a position statement on how to use masks.

Insight & Guide | Environmental monitoring & Robust testing schedules

Being able to identify which areas within a food facility are vulnerable to all  hazards and which ingredients are vulnerable to food fraud is essential in ensuring the early detection of any potential risks.

This can be achieved through building a robust testing schedule which takes into consideration all areas of concern (hygiene, microbial, food fraud and food safety in general). It is one way in which you can ensure you detect a potential issue before it becomes a problem.

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