CHALLENGES OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the role of food science and technology to provide safe, sufficient and nutritious food for the billions of people on lockdown or restricted conditions is now urgent and unprecedented in scope. From research and development of new food systems to the practical need of providing food for front line workers, the challenge to the food science and technology community has never been greater. As a first response, IUFoST has held three Roundtables related to the global health crisis, which are described below.
The first roundtable was initiated when IUFoST invited the Chinese Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST) to cooperate in a roundtable on COVID-19 and Food Safety. On 21 March 2020, IUFoST in collaboration with CIFST convened an Extraordinary Scientific Roundtable (SRD3) entitled - COVID-19 and Food Safety and its implications, Challenges and Solutions for the Food Industry.
This Roundtable was arranged to provide preliminary guidance to the international food science and technology community and the food industry concerning the COVID-19 pandemic. IUFoST and CIFST recognized that the expert advice may be helpful to the food industry, scientific agencies and governments in ameliorating the impact of this crisis on the food supply, as well as offering suggestions for post-pandemic consideration.
Published Reports SRD 3 – Extraordinary Roundtable
COVID-19 and Food Safety and its Implications, Challenges and Solutions for the Food Industry reports published in two peer-reviewed journals.
Nature Journal Science of Food Report by Dr. Gerald G. Moy - IUFoST/CIFST hold an Extraordinary Scientific Roundtable on COVID-19 and Food Safety. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41538-020-0068-2
Journal of Food Bioactives Report by Dr. Fereidoon Shahidi - Does COVID-19 Affect Food Safety and Security? A Summary Report on the Extraordinary Scientific Roundtable of IUFoST-CIFST on March 21, 2020 DOI: https://doi.org/10.31665/JFB.2020.9212
This was followed by the second in the Extraordinary Series on the subject of COVID-19
Crisis: Implications for Food Systems in Developing Economies - Focus on Africa and Lebanon (SRD4). The critical importance of ensuring that developing economies are supported by the international community as they prepare to contain the spread of COVID-19 was highlighted in this Scientific Roundtable that brought together internationally renowned experts in food science looking at nutrition, agriculture, regulation, epidemiology, and industry to address challenges specific to Africa and Lebanon.
The next scientific roundtable (SRD5) was on the subject of Supporting the Resilience of the Food Production Sector and Limiting Food Supply Disruption During COVID-19 Pandemic, (SRD5) in which IUFoST partnered with the Nutrition and Food Systems Division of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Food
Risk Analysis and Regulatory Excellent Platform (PARERA) of Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada, to hold a roundtable discussion to share perspectives of the food production sector as to the challenges they faced, solutions developed and lessons learnt and those of food regulators in various parts of the world as to their efforts to prevent disruption of the food supply chain and contribution to maintaining safety of food products and confidence of consumers.