Safe Freight Handling and Distribution of Food and Food Products

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“Food deliverers” in the Corona Virus-19 pandemic period should be allowed to do food delivery only if they test negative to Covid-19 Virus.   PHOTO: MDN

Food quality needs to be monitored through sample testing of food items, whether in it’s raw state in the various food markets or “cooked/prepared” state at the various food shops.

By Lokethar

Freight handlers of food and food products include workers who load and unload food and food products all along the food chain. The food and food products may be related to agriculture, fishery, livestock breeding etc. and comprise of “wet” and “dry” food and food products both preserved or perishable. On the other hand it could also be cooked or fast food ordered on-line. The safety of the food chain is tied to the hygienic handling and transporting of food and food products. The workers performing the handling and transporting process must be free from communicable diseases and provided with the necessary protective gear to prevent the spread of harmful diseases among their buyers/sellers or customers.
We occasionally see on TV, workers loading food and food products at the various storage facilities of the industrial establishments or the “godowns” of the trading establishments in the major market places. For the sake of food safety, they should be provided with “work clothes” as well as the necessary personnel protective equipment like face masks at least, while performing their work. In addition they should be provided with suitable footwear when their freight handling operations require them to climb over heaps of “sacks” or “boxes” to reach the top tiers for retrieving or placing the last layers of the sacks or boxes or whatever.
It may not be feasible at the present time to require all food freight handlers to wear “work clothes” (like pants and probably T shirts). However for the “food freight handlers” who are employed on a more or less regular basis, the “work clothes” could be subsidised by their employers. Such “work clothes” would be safer and more hygienic to work in compared to working in their daily wear “longyis”, often bare-backed and bare-footed.
Loading and unloading of food products, including rice/grain sacks should preferably be done by “freight handlers” who are certified to be free from communicable diseases and perform the loading/unloading operations wearing “work clothes” and personnel protective equipment where needed. After all there has been instances where “freight handlers of food” loading bulk containers without protective gear, having been suffocated by accumulation of harmful gases like in the holds of ships, in grain silos and other confined spaces. As far as lifting and transporting heavy loads like rice/grain sacks etc. is concerned, the maximum permissible weight to be carried by a worker should be observed.
Food transporting should also not be undertaken by ”food deliverers” with communicable diseases and of course in these times of the Corona Virus-19 pandemic, those testing positive for the Corona Virus-19. “Food deliverers” in the Corona Virus-19 pandemic period should be allowed to do food delivery only if they test negative to Covid-19 Virus. Such food deliverers would include the bicycle food deliverers, drivers of food delivery vans as well as “truckers” who deliver food cross long distances either for consumption in-country or for export. However in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic, the smooth flow of food delivery vans and trucks, should not, as far as possible, be held up for long periods to check on the drivers health viz-a-viz Covid-19 infection. If due to the delays in transportation, the food items deteriorate, it will cause financial loss to the food item supplier as well as the buyers and also lead to shortage of the food items in the market probably causing their prices to rise. Worse still, selling of the “not so fresh” foods like fish, meat and vegetables by unscrupulous sellers could cause food poisoning or acute gastro intestinal diseases among the public.
Food quality needs to be monitored through sample testing of food items, whether in it’s raw state in the various food markets or “cooked/prepared” state at the various food shops. It’s for the the concerned authorities to control food freight handling and to maintain food quality so that Myanmar people can eat safe food by which their “healthy lifespan” can be substantially increased. With charity to all and malice to none.

 

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