Food safety amid COVID-19 pandemic
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of our everyday lives.
As a way of coping with the changes brought about by the pandemic, I participated in webinars on journalism, interior design, as well as arts and lifestyle.
One of the most important among these webinars was about food safety during the COVID-19 crisis.
Here are some of the personal notes I have taken down during the food safety webinar sponsored by Enderun and FoodSHAP:
(1) COVID-19 is not food-borne but food handling and sanitation are crucial in managing the pandemic.
(2) Food establishments can be a venue for the spread of diseases such as COVID-19 either due to sick suppliers, workers, or clients.
(3) Food establishments need to enforce a strict sick policy: food workers should not report for work when they are sick and diners should not be allowed to enter the establishment when a thermal scan (temperature check) shows that they are sick.
(4) All food establishments, from carinderia to high-end restaurants, should follow strict guidelines on food preparation, handling, and delivery.
(5) All food workers must always wear mouth guards, sanitary gloves, hair cover, and other protective gear such as chef’s jackets or safety shoes.
(6) Both food workers and diners must practice proper hand washing.
Food establishments must set up adequate hand washing stations for diners. (The speaker also recommended that hand washing stations be established in public markets.)
(7) Food establishments must only use safe raw materials from reliable suppliers.
(8) All raw materials must be cleaned with potable water before they are stored or used in cooking.
(8) Raw materials must be stored at the right temperature (either at room temperature, or the refrigerator, or the freezer).
(9) Cooked food must also be stored at the right temperature. Cooked food must likewise NOT be kept at room temperature for longer than two hours.
(10) COVID-19 is a new disease and thus, food establishments must keep abreast of the latest information about the disease from the World Health Organization, the Department of Health, national government, or local government units.
Author's Note: I am a journalist, not a food business owner, but food safety is important to me as I cook for my family and share our food with friends, neighbors, and at times, also frontliners. Also, I took up Food Technology for three years in UP Diliman before shifting to Journalism in the same university. Then in 2019, I took a Culinary Essentials course at Enderun.