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KNOWLEDGE: The Most Important Tool To Help The Foodservice Community And Consumers Deal With Reality Of Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)

Earlier last week our President thanked the people of South Africa and frontline workers for supporting the present lockdown to fight the Coronavirus outbreak and work towards flattening the curve. As we all try to confront the Coronavirus crisis, both industry and consumers are struggling to navigate the disruptions in our everyday life as a result of actions taken by governments globally and locally to stem the spread of the virus. The uncertainty that many people are feeling right now is understandable and we can all do our part to ease some of the concern by supporting our foodservice industry and the consumers they serve. We must do this while ensuring that our people have access to a steady supply of food and that our workers are supported and protected.

The foodservice segment is getting hit hard by the Coronavirus pandemic. Many did not realize just how hard we would be hit; however, the Coronavirus pandemic is a global problem and the foodservice community has the capability to draw on the extensive presence and experience and share best practices and advice on an international platform. Globally research estimates that the impact to year-over-year growth for the foodservice in 2020 will range from an 11% to 27% decline. Notwithstanding this situation our employees have been commendable, as every person in the industry that may work and provide a service to the consumers out there, have been showcasing passion and the spirit to do the right thing and help. We have been urged to work together and support one another in this very different and for many of us difficult time. To be able to achieve this to the benefit of both our people and the foodservice industry we need to implement tools to assist us in ensuring that we achieve the outcomes envisaged:

KNOWLEDGE – the most important tool of all!

What do we need to know about Coronavirus and food?

At a time when everyone needs better information from health specialists, government and the food industry per se, we lack reliable information. We need better information to guide decisions and actions we take as the foodservice community. Here follows the most important information regarding Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2):

  • The virus is not a living organism – it is a protein molecule covered by a protective layer of fat, which when absorbed by a person via their noses and mouths the molecule is changed and then becomes an aggressor and multiplies.
  • As the virus is not a living organism but a protein molecule it is not killed but disintegrates over time. The time it takes depends on temperature, humidity and the surface it lies on.
  • The virus is fragile and is only protected by a thin layer of fat. That is the reason why we need to wash our hands well with soap and water as the soap foam cuts the fat. The fat layer is dissolved, and the protein molecule breaks down.
  • Heat melts fat that is why it is good to use water above 25 degrees Celsius for washing hands and everything else.
  • Any mixture with alcohol over 65% dissolves any fat such as the outside fat layer of the virus.
  • A mixture of 1-part bleach to 5-parts of water dissolves protein and breaks the virus down from the inside.
  • Oxygenated water (peroxide) dissolves the virus protein, but as it needs to be used in a pure form it hurts the skin.
  • Antibiotics do not work as the virus is not a living organism as bacteria are and antibodies cannot kill something that is not alive.
  • Don’t shake used and unused clothing and linen as the virus can be glued to a porous surface and is very sluggish and disintegrates over time:
    • Between 3-4 hours on fabric and porous surfaces
    • 4 hours on copper and wood
    • 24 hours on cardboard
    • 42 hours on metal and 73 hours on plastic

If you however shake it the virus molecules float in the air for up to 3 hours and can then be transmitted.

  • The virus molecules remain very stable in cold environments such as air conditioners in cars and houses. They also need moisture and darkness to stay stable. That is why it will degrade faster in a less humid, dry, warm and bright environment.
  • The virus cannot go through healthy skin, therefore protect skin as much as possible.
  • Vinegar is not useful as it does not break down the fat layer protecting the virus.
  • No spirits or vodka will destroy the virus as you need 65% strong alcohol to be efficient.
  • The virus can be more concentrated in smaller spaces, the more open and ventilated the space the lower the concentration of the virus.
  • Wash hands before and after touching your face, food, locks, knobs, switches, remote controls, cell phones, watches, computers, desks, TV’s etc. and using the bathroom.
  • Use moisturizer to protect dry hands from all the washing as molecules can hide in the cracks of the dry skin.
  • Keep nails short and clean so that viruses do not hide there. [ John Hopkins Hospital]

During this global crisis we need to do what we can to support the foodservice community and our consumers so that critical services can continue to be delivered to all in our communities. Together we can make a meaningful difference in working alongside the government to fight this pandemic and restore both our public and economic health. As we are continuing to develop plans to address and lessen the impact of the effect of the Coronavirus on our employees, our customers and our overall business, we hope that all these efforts and the tool of correct knowledge support us in containing the virus successfully both in our country and elsewhere in the world. Be supportive of one another by letting your customers know what you as a food industry are doing for your own employees and the entire food supply chain; be empathetic to one another’s situations; and offer as best one can any troubleshooting or other assistance as is possible.

Please reach out to our team, who are on standby to assist you and your team with our various online training strategies.

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