Food Safety, Security, and Defense in a Pandemic Just a few months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. As of April 17, 2020, the virus had spread to 185 countries, infecting more than 2.2 million people worldwide. By the time you read this, those numbers will have increased even more. SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), has disrupted our society, crashed economies, broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces around the world. A global pandemic of this scale did not come as a surprise

a risk management perspective to ensure production could continue even if one supply pipeline is substantially reduced or completely shuts down. In an April 17, 2020, Market Watch report, Mark Allen, chief executive of the International Foodservice Distributors Association, stated that the $3 billion foodservice industry had seen a decline of 60 to 90 percent due to COVID- 19. The reduced foodservice demand is a direct result of actions taken to mitigate this disease such as closures of restaurants and schools. Changing from producing and processing food items for foodservice clients to preparing food for retail sales has also been a difficult and long process for food producers and manufacturers. According to the 2015 article, “How Resilient is the United States’ Food System to Pandemics,” there are alarming gaps in preparedness, and the authors highlight the need to improve

for many health experts who have been saying that the United States was not prepared for a pandemic. Pandemics can have several impacts and test the resilience of not just the most modern heath care systems, but also of food supply chain systems. With globalization, the food supply chain has become very complex. The movement of food from farm to fork is not as simple as it once was. Every step in the food supply chain must function properly to maintain the system working well, otherwise the whole supply chain is affected. After the world first became aware of the full extent of the coronavirus situation in China, news reports focused on how the lack of exports from China was affecting businesses worldwide. When the outbreak in China became a pandemic, companies started focusing on supply chain diversity from

the resilience of our food system. Given that resilience refers to the ability to prepare for, withstand, and recover from a disruption or crisis—our food supply system is being tested. Using a system dynamics model to demonstrate the likely effects of a pandemic on the USA’s food system, a severe pandemic with greater than a 25 percent reduction in labor availability can create significant and widespread food shortages. At the time I am writing this article, no food shortages have been reported. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has stated that the United States does not have a food shortage issue, but instead that it has a distribution and demand issue. However, the fact that most produce businesses are


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