Speaking at the FSA board meeting on 26 August, its chief operating officer Dr Colin Sullivan said that this was a “small number” of sites considering the size of the sector.
“For example in England yesterday we were looking at approximately 40 food processing plans in both meat and non-meat with active outbreaks,” he said.
He did admit that there was some evidence that food processing plants were “more likely” to be impacted by outbreaks. But said he said he had “no figures to hand.”
Sullivan revealed that FSA scientists were contributing to a new piece of research that was being led by the Health and Safety Executive looking at evidence gaps in the transmission of COVID-19.
The FSA said it was also working constructively with local authorities and had provided updated and revised guidance.
Sullivan said the FSA had been making efforts to amplify Government guidance to the public in terms of virus transmission and specific materials for business and consumers.
He said there had been “significant uptake” of information. He referred to morethan 200,000 page views of official FSA guidance by consumers and 230,000 views by food businesses in the first quarter.
Here to Help
He added that the FSA’s Here to Help initiative to support food businesses had been “very well received”. This involves a number of tailored guidance pages, case studies, webinar and sharing of good practice.
The FSA also revealed that it had entered the “enhanced recovery” phase of its response to COVID-19. That meant that easements around general labelling requirements had been reversed.
The FSA stressed its assessment of the risk of transmission of COVID-19 through consumption or handling of food, or handling of packaging, remained very low.