COVID-19

This is an image of the COVID-19 virus.
Learn about the COVID-19 virus and it’s impact on food safety.

University of Florida.

A list of publications maintained by the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences that deal with COVID-19 topics with a food safety slant.

SARS-CoV-2 Virus Transmission  ( PDF | 674 KB )

National Institute of Food and Agriculture (United States Department of Agriculture) and NC State Extension.

A one-page document created by the NC State Extension explains ways COVID-19 is transmitted.

Food Security

2020

As these lines were written, the Covid-19 pandemic crisis was continuing to threaten countries around the globe. The worldwide consensus that physical distancing is an effective instrument for mitigating the spread of the virus has led policymakers to temporarily limit the freedom of movement of people between and within countries, cities, and even neighborhoods. These public health-related restrictions on human mobility yielded an unprecedented fragmentation of international and national food distribution systems. Focusing on food retailing - usually being modestly oligopolistic - we take a micro-economic perspective as we analyze the potential consequences this disruption has for the physical as well as for the economic access of households to food at the local level. As the mobility constraints implemented substantially reduced competition, we argue that food retailers might have been tempted to take advantage of the implied fragmentation of economic activity by exploiting their temporarily raised market power at the expense of consumers and farmers. We illustrate our point by providing empirical evidences of rising wholesale-retail as well as farm-retail price margins observed during the Covid-19 crisis. Subsequently, we review existing empirical approaches that can be used to quantify and decompose the micro-economic effects of crises on food demand and supply as well as the size and structure of the market, costs of trade, and economic welfare. The employment of such approaches facilitates policymakers’ understanding of micro-economic effects of public health-induced mobility restrictions on economic activity.

Global Food Security

2020

There are rising concerns over the impact of COVID-19 on the agricultural production, which may become a nonnegligible threat to the long-term food supply and food security. This paper discusses the impact of COVID-19 on agricultural production in China, followed by government responses to alleviate the negative effects. The results show that unreasonable restrictions would block the outflow channels of agricultural products, hinder necessary production inputs, destroy production cycles, and finally undermine production capacity. It is expected that China's experiences could give warnings and suggestions to other countries that are experiencing serious outbreak to protect domestic agricultural production, especially developing countries.

Allergy : European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

2020

Large differences in COVID‐19 death rates exist between countries and between regions of the same country. Some very low death rate countries such as Eastern Asia, Central Europe or the Balkans have a common feature of eating large quantities of fermented foods. Although biases exist when examining ecological studies, fermented vegetables or cabbage were associated with low death rates in European countries. SARS‐CoV‐2 binds to its receptor, the angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). As a result of SARS‐Cov‐2 binding, ACE2 downregulation enhances the angiotensin II receptor type 1 (AT1R) axis associated with oxidative stress. This leads to insulin resistanceas well as lung and endothelial damage, two severe outcomes of COVID‐19. The nuclear factor (erythroid‐derived 2)‐like 2 (Nrf2) is the most potent antioxidant in humans and can block the AT1R axis. Cabbage contains precursors of sulforaphane, the most active natural activator of Nrf2. Fermented vegetables contain many lactobacilli, which are also potent Nrf2 activators. Three examples are given: Kimchi in Korea, westernized foods and the slum paradox. It is proposed that fermented cabbage is a proof‐of‐concept of dietary manipulations that may enhance Nrf2‐associated antioxidant effects helpful in mitigating COVID‐19 severity.

Food Research International

2020

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial restaurant sector is struggling to organize itself. Resilience is crucial for a system to be able to respond adequately to events of this magnitude, and is aimed at the recovery and adaptation of the concerned sector in view of the adversities. In the commercial restaurant sector, resilience efforts are primarily intended to protect the health of both those who consume food and those who produce it. Amid the creative initiatives of individuals within their workplaces, restaurants, even unconsciously, seek to build resilience in the pandemic by applying the food safety practices recommended by the sanitary legislation and remaining economically active. Targeting public health preparedness, in this letter, we present an overview of the stages of resilience and their interaction with the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of commercial restaurants.

Food Security

2020

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the vulnerability of India’s Agri food system and accentuated the need for agricultural market reforms and digital solutions to connect farmers to markets, to create safety nets and ensure reasonable working conditions, and to decentralize Agri food systems to make them more resilient.

Food Security

2020

In the context of developing countries, early evidence suggests that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on food production systems is complex, heterogenous, and dynamic. As such, robust monitoring of the impact of the health crisis and containment measures across agricultural value chains will likely prove vitally important. With Bangladesh as a case study, we discuss the building blocks of a comprehensive monitoring system for prioritizing and designing interventions that respond to food system disruptions from COVID-19 and preemptively avoid further cascading negative effects. We also highlight the need for parallel research that identifies pathways for enhancing information flow, analysis, and action to improve the efficiency and reliability of input and output value chains. In aggregate, this preliminary work highlights the building blocks of resilient food systems to external shocks such as COVID-19 pandemic in the context of developing nations. In doing so, we call attention to the importance of ‘infection safe’ agricultural input and output distribution logistics, extended social safety nets, adequate credit facilities, and innovative labor management tools alongside, appropriate farm mechanization. In addition, digital extension services, circular nutrient flows, enhanced storage facilities, as well as innovative and robust marketing mechanisms are required. These should be considered in parallel with effective international trade management policies and institutions as crucial supportive measures.