In the past few weeks, COVID-19 has been alarmingly sneaking into our lives to reach pandemic proportions. India, being the second most populous country in the world, faces an unprecedented challenge to deal with food safety.
Even before the coronavirus outbreak, food security was always a concern, but now food has never seemed so important, both as a source of nutrition as well as in the interest of health and safety.
This new crisis that the world at large is facing requires an examination of how we together can work on and restructure the global and national food systems. It calls for cooperation and collaboration from the food authorities to design due contingency plans, not just for now, but also for preparing for any future catastrophe.
Let’s look into the steps that should be taken to ensure food security post COVID-19:
- Health and sanitation
One of the colossal takeaways from this adversity will be a growing focus on health and sanitation. Hygiene has been and will be in the limelight because of this pandemic. It will be significant for the restaurants to embrace more stringent practices than before to ensure that they are following the best hygiene standards. After this, when things get back to normal, it will become important to train and retrain your staff. Apart from that, the other challenge, restaurateurs will face is to convince the customers to feel safe at their outlets. Hence, the food industry will require a major modification in the near future.
- Change in dining experiences
We humans are social beings and we are all acting otherwise now, but eventually we would want to come together again; and this places a lot of responsibility on the restaurant industry to keep enhancing their hygiene standards and also work on rearranging and reducing tables for offering a more comfortable sitting space for everyone.
There are chances that we see a rise in people desiring to dine out – knowing that people are pining for the restaurant-style cooking. However, people are going to be cautious of the places that they choose to visit. This makes it very important for the businesses to be prepared and follow best safety standards.
- Fusing food and technology together
Technological innovation will play a key role in this challenging environment, where the demand for food will be high and also there’s a change in the consumer behaviour. The industry will have to adapt to this evolving landscape; look and invest in digitization and automation, so that consumers expect a safe and secure food supply. Moreover, working on minimization of human contact even post pandemic will be extremely important and replacing paper with automated processes and digital information will be the new convention.
This crisis may also have a long-term effect on the agricultural industry. Thus, our nation needs to embrace some quick, smart, and innovative approach to be constructive and productive keeping in mind the safety. The food industry should come together from different sectors such as food technology, agriculture, public health specialists, social scientists for adapting innovation for food security. Since food manufacturing, food retail, food transportation, agriculture, and food service, these all categorized under essential services, it’s the duty of the collective food industry to respond and act.
- Physical distancing
Physical distancing will continue even after the crisis subsides as a measure to protect staff and patrons. Many food retail businesses such as supermarkets, grocery stores, and restaurants, will still focus on keeping a safe distance between the customers and the employees.
- Clinical nutrition
What COVID-19 has taught us is that being reactive is not enough, what we require is to be proactive to protect the at-risk citizens, and hence, nutritional intervention will also become crucial. It will be essential for people to change their eating habits. Therefore, simplifying the menu items and incorporating healthier food items for maintaining a healthy diet will be an important part of our daily lives.
- Importance of third-party inspection
With the global health crisis, the third-party inspection just got all the more important. Not only restaurants but also other public spaces would require to utilize these services. The hygiene audits and assessments are cardinal to meet the regulatory hygiene compliance and standards that are set. And also, to safeguard and reassure your patrons and employees that you are doing everything to put an end to the spread of infection.
Therefore, health agencies like Equinox Labs are going to come to the restauranteurs’ aid by introducing new initiatives. Safe Place to Dine is a definitive certification program to identify and recognize the efforts of the restaurants in keeping their customers safe. Whereas Hygiene Quotient an app-based service helps by verifying your site evidence in real-time, suggests improvements, and generates a daily score. Connect with our team today!