Statement by the International Food & Beverage Alliance on ensuring safe and uninterrupted production and supply of food and beverage products during the COVID-19 pandemic
Geneva, 20 March 2020 – The International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA), representing the largest international companies in food and non-alcoholic beverage manufacturing, is committed to supporting consumers, their families and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. While all measures should be taken to contain the coronavirus as quickly as possible, securing the uninterrupted provision of safe food and beverages to people around the world is critical.
We recognize and applaud the leadership of the World Health Organization in coordinating global action. In support of these efforts, IFBA member companies are working at a national and local level to ensure that people continue to have a steady and safe access to a diverse range of foods and beverages. We are also working with our partners to provide support and relief for people and communities in need.
As governments around the world move to adopt extraordinary measures to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, the continued supply of essential goods and services must be secured. As citizens are encouraged to minimize time spent outside of their homes, pre-packaged food and beverage products are particularly critical for continued sustenance.
We call on governments worldwide to ensure that facilities manufacturing food and beverage products, ingredients and packaging essential to the supply chain, as well as the retail outlets ensuring their distribution, can continue operating as needed, with the necessary COVID-19 specific health, safety and security precautions in place.
Secondly, we call on governments worldwide to ensure that border management controls do not result in the disruption of food supply chains by, for instance, designating priority lanes for freight transport (e.g. ‘green lanes’), and by allowing the safe movement of transport workers including truck and train drivers, pilots and aircrew, across internal and external borders.
We recognize the role our industry plays in this unprecedented time of crisis and remain at the disposal of the World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the United Nations system as a whole to support this global effort in every way we can.