Food safety and nutrition guidelines during pandemic situation of covid-19


The pandemic situation of novel coronavirus in India disturbed the value chain of food and agriculture which left people at the position of limited or no food at their end. As there is complete cure or treatment available for COVID-19. So, In this situation, prevention is the best way to save the lives of people. A number of preventive guidelines have been issued by the WHO and relevant Indian authorities in this regard such as wearing face-masks, washing hands with sanitizer periodically, maintain the social distancing essentially. Internationally, The FDA and WHO issued the food safety guidelines for the businesses to avoid any kind of spread risk of the novel coronavirus. In India, similar guidelines have been issued by FSSAI (Food Safety Standard Authority of India) for food businesses to prevent any kind of spread risk of the novel coronavirus. While such food safety guidelines have not been circulated in the public domain at the end of consumers effectively due to lack of awareness in India. So, it is the responsibility of every aware individual to tell in their contacts about the hygiene and food safety guidelines while purchasing the fruits, vegetables from the mandis and local street vendors. 
Similar precautions must also be maintained while purchasing packaged food products. It has been found in the investigation that the novel coronavirus can survive up to 72 hours on the surface of fruits and vegetables. So, it may be another disease spreading agent. Although, the government authorities are creating awareness among the peoples with their best of efforts. In my opinion, the government should handover these responsibilities to all government and non-government organizations and the concerned people to create awareness regarding food safety and hygiene near or around their vicinity. Also, the FSSAI also circulated the guidelines about healthy & nutritious foods particularly for those who have home quarantines and at the risk of COVID-19. Although, the International statutory organizations have issued the guidelines for food and nutrition for self quarantined and risky people. The food safety standard authority of India (FSSAI, 2020) released the guidelines regarding food hygiene & safety for food businesses.  The FSSAI describes the guidelines for food businesses i.e. food employees, food handlers, etc. Three major safety guidelines were released.
Guidelines for food buyers
As the Indian markets are not well organized and sophisticated. There is a huge share of the Indian market that constitutes the unorganized sector. In India, the consumers purchase food items such as packaged food products directly from the grocery stores and the fruits and vegetables from the local street vendors, mandis, etc. The sanitization and hygiene level is very poor among the whole market in Indian. So, the precaution must be taken at the consumer’s level to check the spread risk of COVID-19 through food items. The novel coronavirus may spread indirectly by touching the groceries and shopping bags. Following guidelines have been suggested to use for consumers.
1    It is suggested to the food employers to provide single-use carry bags for food commodities to check the cross-contamination if any. Unfortunately, if the packaging material got the virus at their surfaces, they may spread the virus to the individuals.
2   As the outer layer of the novel coronavirus is made up of fat/lipid, so it is recommended to use alcohol-based hand sanitizer for consumers. This is because alcohol kills the novel coronavirus by solubilizing the outer lipid layer of the virus. The formulation of sanitizer must as per the WHO standard.
3    The raw fruits and vegetables should rinse with the running tap water before to remove any kind of dust particles, pathogenic microbes including COVID-19 virus to reduce the spread risk in individuals. 
Food and nutrition guidelines
As no treatment remedy has been discovered till today. So, the preventive measures are the only ways to check and reduce the risk of novel corona virus. One of the preventive measures to check the infection risk is to improve or boost the immunity of the body. The immunity of the body can be increased by taking healthy foods that carry potent molecules such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and other components. The WHO European office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable diseases has developed the food and nutritional guidelines that should be followed by the consumers during home stay or self-quarantine.
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