Post-pandemic food safety and security concerns

By Helen Adams
The food industry is going to have to meet higher customer expectations: food hygiene, animal welfare, employee rights and the impact of climate change

Over the pandemic period, consumer concerns around food supplies have grown. 

The Coronavirus is believed to have started in a wet meat market in Wuhan, China, where animals were sold for meat and medicine, in low standards of hygiene. 

Now consumers across the world want to know how safe their food is - as well as the security of its supply chain which can be impacted by extreme weather and human error. 

In addition, panic buying and the abuse of retail staff has exposed unacceptable consumer behavior and many are calling for legislation to protect employees. 

Post-pandemic, the nature of food retail will be very different, as customers will expect a greater level of hygiene to be imposed.


Animal welfare and the impact of food hygiene

As reported on our Procurement website, hygiene standards for farm animals are under the scrutiny of customers. 

Hotel owners, GLH, are dedicated to the procurement of sustainable poultry with The Better Chicken Commitment, a chicken welfare policy which addresses breeding, housing, stocking density, and slaughter. 

More than 200 big players in the food industry have signed, including Burger King and Nestlé, to show customers they are serious about food safety.


Employees safety in food retail

Over the pandemic, abuse against retail and hospitality workers has soared. In the UK, some MP’s have supported a law offering employees more protection against verbal and physical abuse and threats. 

One restaurant in Cape Cod, USA, decided to close for the day and treat its staff to ‘a day of kindness’ after a rise in rude customers left employees crying

In addition, many in food retail and hospitality have also had to deal with staff shortages as colleagues self isolate. 


Food shortages due to climate change

As reported in Food Digital, items such as coffee, chocolate and even fish, are in danger as the planet’s climate begins to shift to one which cannot sustain them. 

Over 2021, extreme temperatures have caused havoc:

  • The late spring frost caused damaged harvests in France
  • High temperatures broke records in Canada, causing wildfires to surge 
  • Western Europe and China have endured months of rainfall over a period of days

Climate change is endangering the world’s food supply and only a global change in attitude to the science behind it will save it. 


Food Digital has reported on these trends over the pandemic and as the world slowly gets back to normal, we will continue to follow them up to see how the food and drink sectors are becoming safer and more responsible.



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