It is important to take advantage of the unprecedented behavior change resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak and speed up food safety initiatives across the globe.
Fortunately, the theme of the United Nations’ second World Food Safety Day, which was celebrated on June 7, was the same as last year’s theme: “Food Safety Is Everyone’s Business.” Therefore, governments must ensure safe and nutritious food for all. The food industry must adopt good practices and make sure food is safe; the global population should not settle for access to food being a human right, but access to safe food being a human right. Consumers must be more conscious of their food choices, and they should demand safe, healthy, and nutritious food.
In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has brought the aspect of food safety, sanitation, and good hygiene practices to the forefront. The COVID-19 pandemic has made consumers more concerned about the safety of food in informal markets, which has produced an increase in the desire to willingly pay more for safer food in these markets. It has also been recorded that foodborne outbreaks have been recently decreasing in some countries because of COVID-19. For example, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, between March and May, four suspected foodborne outbreaks were reported, compared with an average of 18 in previous years. The COVID-19 pandemic has also positively changed consumer behavior. In a survey, about 78 percent of respondents indicated that their attitude regarding food hygiene has changed. About 70 percent indicated that they are now more careful about washing their hands and cleaning surfaces after handling and unpacking food. About 40 percent of people are more careful about washing unpackaged fruits and vegetables than before, and 37 percent of those people also believe that everyone should use hand sanitizer when entering a shop where food is sold.