Mass closures of restaurants and schools has created a shift from wholesale foodservice markets to retail grocery stores. Added to this is the issue of health and welfare while helping to ensure sustained production of safe food as well as minimising the risk of transmitting COVID-19 between dairy workers.
In these troubled times, international collaboration within the dairy sector and with the international organizations and national governments is more important than ever to ensure food safety, food security and nutrition and consequently public health.
IDF director general, Caroline Emond, told DairyReporter, “The challenges that the global dairy sector is facing in order to produce, process and deliver dairy products at present should not be underestimated. Everyone involved in the dairy supply chain is working tirelessly to ensure there are enough nutritious and safe dairy foods for people to eat particularly in these times of crisis.
“As the leading source of scientific and technical expertise for all stakeholders of the dairy chain, IDF brings the global sector together to ensure that everyone has access to the resources they need to deliver nutritious dairy foods in these unprecedented circumstances.”
The members of the International Dairy Federation (IDF) have been working hard to manage the dairy chain and keep milk on shelves.
The IDF community, including farmers, dairy processors, producers, service providers and suppliers and industry specialists, together with others in the supply chain, have been working to keep the milk flowing, with several also donating to food banks and persons in need during the crisis.
Maintaining a constant flow of information within the global dairy sector with regards to actions taken, practical support and best practice has also never been more important.
Steps taken by members of the IDF include the issuing public statements for consumers on the safety measures put in place and commitment of the actors of the dairy chain, information for farmers on how to meet coronavirus challenges, information on protocols milk collection, suppliers and storage.
The IDF now has an online section dedicated to the crisis.
Other IDF resources include links to specific COVID-19 safety protocols for employees and crisis planning tips.
Further practical guidance includes how to milk cows while maintaining social distancing; how to manage staff coming on and off farm; address supply issues that may disrupt operations for farms and factories; protocols for managing milk collection; specific biosecurity considerations for COVID-19 and questions consumers may have regarding the safety of dairy operations, including evidence on the safety of dairy foods.
The IDF continues to engage with intergovernmental organizations and sectoral organizations. For example, on April 3, the IDF participated in a webinar organized by WHO on the protection of work forces in food industry and retail and will continue to be part of the conversation at an international level.
The IDF said as information continues to evolve quickly, communications from the IDF are being continually developed, and the COVID-19 situation will be closely monitored to ensure the safety and availability of dairy products throughout the world during this time of emergency.