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The Effects of Coronavirus on Food Production.

How can food producers deal with Covid 19?

With Coronavirus there have been a series of beliefs and worries, also often unfounded, on the way to lead our everyday life in total safety.

But, given the importance that food has for all of us, we certainly could not interrupt the production and commercial chain even if our safety tends to falter when we find ourselves eating fruit or vegetables that has been displayed on the counter of a supermarket able to record several hundred entries per day. Especially in light of the fact that very little is needed to transmit a pathogen like that of Coronavirus.

Let’s see how food production has dealt with the Covid-induced crisis and what is likely to change from now on.

Food production in the time of Covid 19

The production, marketing and, finally, the consumption of food are a delicate topic in this precise historical moment characterized by the ongoing pandemic.

As we said, since the beginning of the infections, the supply chain has never stopped and has therefore faced, immediately and in the front line, this battle. The first problem that emerged was that of the safety of workers who, having never been able to stop working, found themselves taking considerable risks. The only way to offer them protection was to provide them with all the necessary personal protective equipment, as this category of workers could not take advantage of a lay-off in the riskiest period (and at the same time more short-staffed). 

Of course, these measures in the workplace cause a serious limitation of personal freedoms but the need to take all possible precautions to contain the risk of new infections will be necessary for the whole period to come. Given these vexatious conditions, there has been a drop in the supply of workers to the point that an appeal has been made by European farmers, facing an unprecedented lack of seasonal workers.

A second problem concerns that of transport which, following the limitations that have been imposed even in full free trade areas such as that of the European Union, has suffered sharp slowdowns. The closure of the borders has in fact destabilized trade between the various countries, causing the consequent blocking of entire food chains upstream.

Similarly, the limited consumption of food in places other than one’s own home caused a reduction of a specific part of the commercial demand and therefore the downsizing, if not, in some cases, the elimination of the relative supply chains that took care of satisfying it.

This reduction in demand, at a general level, has translated into a concrete difficulty for producers who have found themselves with a surplus of goods which is practically impossible to place on the market except through a drop in prices beyond any market logic. At the same time the producers were forced to review the agreements with the various collaborators who deal with the distribution, justified by the new unpredictable vexatious conditions induced by the virus, and in any case not always managing to descend to suitable balanced compromises between the parties.

In all this, a positive news comes from the European Food Safety Authority which states that there has been no evidence of transmission of the infection through food and that the risk that is run by coming into contact with bare hands with various packaging is rather remote.

Finally, although the potential for contagion is concrete even in case of being ingested infected water, the production line of bottled water, including diligent processes such as those filtering and disinfection, is able to avert any risk.

The Exporium team

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