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DR. NEVZAT ARTIK; COVID-19 PANDEMIA AND ITS EFFECTS ON FOOD SAFETY…

Prof. Dr. Nevzat Artık

Ankara Univ. Faculty of Engineering, Food Engineering Department / Ankara

Ankara Univ. Food Safety Institute / Ankara

The epidemic, which caused the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare an international public health emergency and is currently continuing, called the 2019-nCoV, and then the Covid-19 by WHO’s official decision, has been on the world’s agenda since the last days of December 2019. . Although the outbreak coronavirus was not initially familiar, it is likely that many people have previously encountered lighter types of this virus. Because the four strains (subgroup) of this virus are responsible for about one-fifth of common cold cases. There are four different types of coronavirus: alphacoronavirus, betacoronavirus, gammacoronavirus and deltacoronavirus. While alpha and beta coronavirus can infect humans, gamma and delta coronavirus only have the ability to infect animals. This virus; It is a large group of viruses that can be found in humans and animals.

Zoonotic diseases are transmitted from animals to humans. These diseases are called zoonotic. Since people who do not encounter these viruses and bacteria in the immune system have not previously developed immunity against these pathogens, zoonotic

Features of coronavirus:

The diameter of the Corona virus is 150 nm, that is 0.00015 mm. Corona surface area is 0.00000007 mm2. The maximum amount of virus that can adhere to the saliva surface with a diameter of 1 mm is 140 million pieces. The weight of a virus weighs 0.85 attograms, 0.85X10-18 grams, one millionth of a trillion grams. 70 million viruses are about 0.0000005 grams. Since the total number of cases in the world is now 2 million, the total virus weight of the whole world is around 1 gram.

 Since scientists do not know much about Covid-19 virus, they try to find results by researching the coronaviruses that cause MERS and SARS. In a new study, it has been determined that the coronavirus causing Covid-19 can survive on inanimate objects for more than a week. In the world, until now it has not been known exactly if the coronavirus can be transmitted if the hands come into contact with the mouth, nose, or eyes after touching a particular surface or object. Scientists have reported that a low temperature and high humidity environment extends the lifespan of these viruses. Viruses of the coronavirus family; It is estimated that it can survive for a maximum of 4-5 days on various materials such as aluminum, wood, paper, plastic and glass.

Investigators investigating studies on human and animal related to viruses found 22 studies that microorganisms causing disease in humans can survive up to 9 days on many surfaces at room temperature. It is imperative that any surface be disinfected very carefully to prevent the spread of coronovirus with solutions containing sodium chlorite, hydrogen peroxide or ethanol. WHO underlines that these methods are very effective especially for MERS and SARS viruses. It is determined that the same methods are suitable for Covid-9 virus. Considering that the Covid-19 virus is very dangerous, it is very important to wash and rinse hands frequently with soap for a long time (20-30 seconds), as well as to take care of surface cleaning in common areas, in order to prevent contamination.

In the Covid-19 period, food safety and food security issues have become much more important. Because, as in every period, society needs food and sufficient food in this period.

Food Safety-Food Assurance and Covid-19 Pandemic Relationship

In food production; The production of suitable food physically, chemically and microbiologically is defined as food safety. Food security is associated with the adequacy of food. Production under suitable conditions in food processing; It is an attempt to prevent unintentional contamination with microorganisms such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus and Listeria monocytogenes, which are considered as risks during the process.

Food Safety Management Systems (ISO 22000: 2018); It is an ISO legislation that includes the rules applied in food production. The Turkish Standard Institute (TSE) published this standard in Turkish on 2 May 2019. The standard was prepared by ISO in June 2018. The following information is included in the “scope” section of the TS EN ISO 22000 Standard. This document contains the Food Safety Management System (GMS) requirements to be established to allow an organization directly or indirectly involved in the food chain to perform the following steps:

a) Demonstrate compliance with legal and regulatory food safety requirements,

b) Planning, implementing, operating, maintaining and updating a GGYS that provides products and services in a safe and convenient manner for their intended use,

c) Communicating food safety issues effectively to interested parties in the food chain,

d) Examining and evaluating customer food safety requirements accepted as mutual and demonstrating acompliance with them,

e) Documentation or registration of the establishment GGYS by an external organization or making a self-assessment or self-declaration of its compliance with this document,

f) Demonstration of compliance with the related parties,

g) To ensure that the organization complies with the specified food safety policy.

Food Defense Against Bioterrorism

Preparing a Plan for Food Defense

Food Defense Plans

→ What is a Food Defense Plan?

It is a written plan used to record the actions to be taken to control / minimize the potential for an intentional contamination event and thereby reduce the overall weakness of the food operation.

→ Why Develop a Food Defense Plan?

A food defense plan: It helps in identifying steps to minimize the risk of product contamination, providing a safe working environment for staff, adding value to the product for customers, and protecting profit.

→ Building a Team (Food Defense Team):

Quality Assurance / Control, Physical Security of the Facility, Food Safety and Operations Management, Human Resources, Public Relations / Communication Facility Emergency Response.

→ In a Food Defense Plan:

Company Information, General Preventive Actions (Exercises A and B), Vulnerability Assessment (Exercise C), Mitigation Strategies (Exercise D), Response Plan (Exercise E), Reassessment and Review.

Organizations where Food Defense is important in the Food Sector

1. Importers and graders

2. Cosmetic product handlers and shippers

3. Dairy farms, shippers, processors

4. Businesses that sell retail food and organizations that offer mass consumption food services

5. Food manufacturers, food processors and shippers

Like many other countries, there is no inter-agency or inter-departmental national plan designed to counteract deliberate introduction of biological factors targeted to herbal products in our country. In other words, our country is not prepared for this type of attack. In this respect, as mentioned above, the agricultural products of our country, which has a large flora, may be the target of some countries and groups, and it is necessary to initiate studies against agrotorism against herbal products by the related institutions.

Food Loss After Covid-19 Should Be Reduced and Wasted Food Production Should Be Increased

Coronavirus epidemic once again showed consumers the importance of food. The importance of hygiene, packaged food and food needs has emerged. Food is a must for life. On the other hand, the population is growing rapidly in the world and there are problems in food sharing. The existence of hungry and obese people in the world is an important issue that should be emphasized. The production and consumption of packaged food should not only gain importance during the pandemic period, its importance should always be emphasized. This is very important for human and public health.

If preservation is required at home to protect people from the epidemic, food preservation is also possible with packaged food production. Because hygiene and food safety are indispensable for food and public health. For this reason, ISO 22000 Food Safety Management System and HACCP rules are applied in the world and in our country. In these systems, production is realized by following all risks and critical control points in food production in order to prevent contamination at any time. This production is under the control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and state guarantee.

Food waste is one of the most important issues in the world. Food loss and waste are very common in primary production, harvesting, transportation, distribution and consumption. Because approximately one third of the produced vegetable and animal foods cannot be evaluated with waste and loss. In these days when the agricultural areas are narrowing and the human population is constantly increasing, food waste and loss has gained more importance than ever. It is reported that approximately one third of the food produced for human consumption in the world (approximately 1.3 billion tons) is lost. This is also; it means that the vast majority of resources used in the production of lost foods are wasted and unnecessary exposure to greenhouse gas emissions from food production. Food; It is wasted across the entire supply chain, from primary production to final household consumption. In middle and high income countries, even if food is still suitable for human consumption, it can be thrown away and there is a significant waste of food. Another important loss occurs in the food supply chains in the early industrialized regions. In low-income countries, food loss can often be observed in the first and middle stages of the food supply chain, while less food is wasted at the consumption level. In low-income countries, food losses and waste causes are predominantly due to the lack of infrastructure, packaging and marketing systems, and storage and cooling facilities resulting from difficult climatic conditions, financial management and technical limitations.

Food waste is one of the most important problems threatening the world today. Although there is enough food available to easily satisfy the entire world population, approximately 821 million people are experiencing hunger problems. While 4 billion tons of food is produced annually worldwide, 2.7 billion tons of these foods are consumed and the remaining 1.3 billion tons are wasted. Global food production must increase by 50% for the nutritional needs of the world population, which is expected to reach  10 billion in 2050. However, the  UN-FAO Report states that it is very difficult for us to finish hunger even in 2050 with the current efforts while the available resources are running out rapidly. According to the Global Hunger Index, 52 of 119 countries have “serious”, “alarming” and “extremely serious” levels of hunger.

Nowadays when people have problems in food supply, the more important it is to increase food production, the more important is the prevention of food loss and waste. When the amount of waste per capita in general is evaluated, it is seen that more food is wasted in developing and industrialized countries. While the amount of waste per capita in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Africa and Southeast Asia is only 6-11 kg / year, it is estimated that

per capita food waste in Europe and North America is 95-115 kg / year.

Food Losses in All-Inclusive System in Hotels

While food waste continues to increase its severity with each passing day, the all-inclusive service system, which is available in hotels, offers countless food and beverage options to the consumer at the same time. This form of presentation provokes consumers to consume excessive food. In the all-inclusive system, consumers are unable to add or consume more food than necessary and leave it as leftover. This situation causes the formation of food waste. With all-inclusive system, it was determined that there was a loss of food between 15-30% according to the type of food. Buffet food service takes place at the request of tourism companies. The amount and number of food and drink served in open buffets and portion weights should be brought under control and consumers should be made aware of this issue.

Since waste and loss in food is common in tourism facilities, the all-inclusive system should be questioned for hygiene after Covid-19. The issue of reorganization or abandonment of the all-inclusive system should be discussed with tourism agencies to prevent food waste and to prevent consumers from being affected by pandemics. Because Covid-19 wants a long and long struggle, not too short.

It is a comprehensive and interactive system developed to contribute directly to the works carried out in order to prevent food waste and preserve food in tourism establishments, to raise awareness in the society and to provide radical solutions to the problem of food waste. This system covers the production, processing, storage, sale, presentation, consumption of food and all kinds of services related to food. In the all-inclusive system, the system should be reorganized or dropped to prevent waste of food and to prevent consumers from being affected by pandemics.

As a result; food losses and waste are very high. The rate of this increases to about 20-30% of the production. Since waste levels and waste volumes are estimated at every stage of the food supply chain, the causes and ways of prevention of food losses and waste at each stage of the food supply chain should be addressed. Efficient solutions should be produced throughout the entire food chain to reduce the total amount of food wasted. In low-income countries, measures should first be adjusted according to the manufacturer’s perspective. The consumer group should be informed and educated should be provided to consumers to change their behavior that causes high levels of food waste. Another point to emphasize is that the food supply chain is more globalized today. The impact of growing international trade on food losses should also be evaluated.

COVID-19 MEASURES IN FOOD ENTERPRISES

• All personnel working in food production should be trained on Covid-19 virus symptoms, transmission routes and precautions.

• Personnel must strictly adhere to the training instructions regarding Covid-19 for self-protection.

• The carrying capacity of the personnel service vehicles of the food producing establishments should be adjusted according to the social distance rules.

• It is obligatory to clean and disinfect the surfaces of service vehicles that are frequently contacted by the personnel at regular intervals and to supervise this application.

• Disposable masks should be distributed to the personnel with hand antiseptic in service vehicles, and training should be given on the use of masks.

• Before entering the facility, all personnel should check their body temperature with a contactless thermometer.

• Unless mandatory during the Covid-19 pandemic in food establishments, visitor access should not be allowed.

• Taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic, existing emergency plans and risk assessment plans should be updated.

• Work offices, rest and locker rooms, toilets, elevators, batteries, stair handrails, door handles and all surfaces in contact with hands should be regularly cleaned and disinfected by a staff member and this application should be checked.

• The closed areas of business and working offices should be frequently ventilated naturally.

• Work planning should be done by considering the contact interval during the lunch breaks, shift, break and shift change.

• Employees should be shown with hands-on washing and rinsing with liquid soap for at least 20 seconds before starting the work and when necessary.

• Employees should be warned not to touch their hands, face, mouth and nose.

• Care should be taken not to come into contact with food additives and additives.

• Dishes should be washed at high temperatures in the dishwasher if possible. If it is not possible, it should be ensured that it is washed at high temperature with plenty of water and detergent.

• Meetings and training should be limited. It should be ensured that meetings and trainings that cannot be postponed are organized online, online or through teleconference. In cases where these methods cannot be applied, social distance rules should be considered.

• Work planning should be made to maintain the activities with the least number of employees (shifts, etc.) and the personnel who can work remotely should be determined.

• Employees should be provided to use personal protective equipment suitable for the job. Care should be taken to ensure that personal protective equipment is personal.

• Food production area, raw material acceptance, packaging etc. including all areas, all employees should be provided with adequate number of medical masks and food-friendly gloves that meet standards.

• Disposable masks that are not suitable for common use should be replaced with new ones in case of dirt, moisture or tears. Care should be taken to wear the mask, paying attention to hand hygiene.

• Masks should be removed from their tires without touching the front surface and should be thrown into a waste bin isolated from the predetermined external environment.

• Non-disposable personal protective equipment must be cleaned and disinfected according to the manufacturer’s instructions before use.

• Work clothes and daily clothes should be kept in different places and work clothes should be washed at a suitable temperature every day.

• Areas with a high risk of contamination in the workplace should be identified and these areas should be regularly cleaned and disinfected.

• By extending the meal hours, crowded groups in the cafeteria should be prevented.

• It should be ensured to sit at the tables according to the social distance rule.

• Meals should be given in the form of food in disposable dishes.

• Water dispensers and tea machines should not be used as much as possible. Employees should be provided with disposable beverages in sealed bottles.

• The use of masks and gloves should be ensured for all dining staff and staff.

• Common areas, devices and equipment should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.

• Towel dispenser with sensors and toilet paper machines with internal pull should be installed in toilets and sinks.

• The information provided by the relevant institutions and organizations, especially the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry of Family, Labor and Social Services should be followed regularly and the currentness of the measures taken should be reviewed.

• Employees who receive Covid-19 symptoms, such as fever, cough and shortness of breath, should be provided with a mask, and they should be informed immediately.

• In cases where workplace health personnel are not available, the person should be isolated from other employees and called ALO 184.

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