Impact of new SARS-CoV-2 test method validations in the fight against COVID-19 in the food industry
Originally presented in collaboration with Select Science in April 2021 and presented by Danièle Sohier, senior manager, global scientific affairs – food production at Thermo Fisher Scientific, and Pat Bird, technical consultant at AOAC International.
Direct transmission of the virus from person-to-person is recognized as the main route of contamination. However, stability of SARS-CoV-2 on various surfaces has been demonstrated, and transmission of the virus from contaminated surfaces might be possible.
While some food industrial segments have faced contamination issues among co-workers, emergency responses were set up to support hygiene monitoring. According to the CDC, "Worker infection prevention recommendations are based on an approach known as the hierarchy of controls. This approach groups actions by their effectiveness in reducing or removing hazards. In most cases, the preferred approach is to eliminate a hazard or processes; install engineering controls; and implement appropriate cleaning, sanitation, and disinfection practices to reduce exposure or shield workers.”
Methods are now available to monitor SARS-CoV-2 in food production environments and evaluate the efficiency of sanitation processes. In parallel, the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) has activated an Emergency Response Validation for the developed test kits, in order to enable a third-party performance assessment.
Key learning points:
- SARS-CoV-2 detection for environmental monitoring to leverage a risk analysis and an appropriate hygiene intervention strategy
- Aspects of the decision process when selecting a detection workflow
- An overview of the AOAC Emergency Validation Response to support the food business operators