Safety first: COVID-19, food supply fears, salmonella contamination and more feature in our round-up

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

COVID-19, food supply fears, salmonella contamination and more feature in this edition of Safety First. ©Getty Images
COVID-19, food supply fears, salmonella contamination and more feature in this edition of Safety First. ©Getty Images

Related tags: Food safety, Food security

COVID-19, food supply fears, salmonella contamination and more feature in this edition of Safety First.

Coronavirus ‘leverage’: FSSAI ups meat hygiene auditing and manpower in India

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has denied that the recent novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has had any impact on the local meat and fish industry, but said that it intended to ‘leverage’ the crisis​ to raise hygiene standards nationwide.

The vast majority of evidence so far has pointed to COVID-19 originating from a wet market in Wuhan, China known for selling various forms of meat, and FSSAI wants to utilise the fact that many public consumers are aware of this to clean up the acts of local meat and fish businesses.

“The hygiene of our meat and fish shops and slaughterhouses is very critical. Slaughtering meat products in India requires a lot of hygiene upgradation,”​ FSSAI CEO Pawan Agarwal said at a press conference earlier this month.

‘Threat to health’: Salmonella more common in pork than chicken in China supermarkets

Salmonella​ is more frequently found in the Chinese pork production chain than in chicken, according to new research published by scientists in Chongqing.

In addition, isolates taken from supplies in supermarkets had more multidrug resistant (MDR) profiles, indicating that they were more threatening than those from slaughterhouses.

Too little too late? Pakistan issues new COVID-19 guidelines for food industry amidst rampant rumours and speculation

Pakistan’s Punjab Food Authority (PFA) has recently issued a set of COVID-19 guidelines aimed at the food industry​ in hopes of controlling the outbreak, amid rampant rumours and speculations about the virus in the country.

The new guidelines were announced by PFA Director General Irfan Memon, emphasising the need for both PFA and the local food industry to adhere to practices that have been advised by global healthcare experts worldwide.

Malaysia in lockdown: COVID-19 reignites food supply fears in Singapore despite government reassurance

Malaysia’s announcement that borders of the entire country will be closed for two weeks in an attempt to control the local spread of COVID-19 has led to renewed panic in neighbouring Singapore​, which imports large amounts of fresh produce from the country, despite government reassurances that food supplies ‘would continue’ as usual.

This was Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin’s first major crisis announcement after ousting predecessor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad from Parliament in early March.

“The government’s priority now is to avoid the spreading of new infections, which will affect more people. [Therefore], drastic action needs to be taken [and] the government has decided to implement the ‘restriction of movement order’ starting from March 18 to March 31,”​ Muhyiddin said in a live telecast on March 16.

Nuclear no more: Singapore latest APAC nation to lift all Japanese food bans

Singapore has joined Philippines, Brunei and New Zealand in officially lifting bans on all food items from Japan​, but some strict restrictions remain in place from China, Taiwan, and South Korea due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.

Both China and Taiwan continue to maintain complete import bans on certain foods, especially those originating from the Japanese prefectures of Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba. China also has additional bans in place for food from Miyagi, Nagano, Nigata and Tokyo.

Related topics: Food safety

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