The safety and security of the food supply chain has become a key issue in Denmark.

The editorial team at Pig Industry Matters has put together some information about how COVID-19 impacts agriculture and food production in Denmark. Read more here.

1. What measures has Denmark implemented in its food chain – from pig producers to consumers?

All non-public sector employers have been urged to ensure that as many of their employees as possible work from home, take time off in lieu or take holiday whilst at the same complying with their contractual obligations, e.g. in terms of exports and deliveries. 

The food industry has followed the authorities’ recommendations and restrictions, including increased infection protection and hygiene recommendations. The industry has assumed that maintenance of the necessary supply businesses (food suppliers, supermarkets etc) is ensured.   

2. How is food safety being handled?

As before.

The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration advises people to follow the Danish Health Authority’s recommendations on how to prevent infection from coronavirus.  The recommendations include good hand hygiene, coughing and sneezing into the sleeve and limited physical contact.

Although it is highly unlikely that coronavirus is passed on through food, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration recommends that people maintain a high standard of hygiene in the kitchen, including washing fruit and vegetables and regular hand washing - always before food preparation and prior to eating.

3. How is Denmark handling food exports in general and to China in particular?

As before, but with reduced demand for foodservice and increased demand from the retail sector. There are challenges from delays at borders, including shipments to China and queues at major ports.

4. Exports of pig meat

Supply chains are being kept running in Europe in order that goods can reach their destination despite delays at some borders. Meat prices are generally falling in Europe.

5. What is the situation in Denmark in terms of emergency preparedness and access to food?

Supply chains in Denmark are largely unaffected.

6. How is Danish agriculture continuing the sustainability work that it has started?

Work in progress to deliver a climate-neutral food industry by 2050 continues as before.

7. How are Danish farmers and Danish food producers coping?

Many companies and industries are operating as normal and are keeping the wheels turning. Sales to the foodservice sector have almost come to a halt due to the closure of restaurants and canteens. The horticultural industry has been badly affected because this is peak season for flowers and many florists are closed.

In some cases, staff shortages are a problem. The availability of seasonal workers, especially foreign workers, is a challenge due to border closures.

8. What is the reaction of Danish consumers? Have their shopping habits changed?

The move away from foodservice towards the retail sector continues. Retailers have reported a rise in food sales, but some stores have reported reduced sales of non-food items. Hoarding of basic goods, i.e. long-life products, seems to have stabilised.   

9. Can pigs spread coronavirus?

As far as COVID-19 is concerned, scientists have said that there is no reason to fear the spread of the virus to animals. Scientists from
Copenhagen University and the State Serum Institute are closely monitoring the various types of coronaviruses in Denmark.
This includes viruses that occur in wild animals, productive livestock and pets. The coronavirus not only includes COVID-19, but a
number of different types, including SARS and MERS. According to scientists, different types of coronavirus have been identified in
Danish animals.

"So far, there is no evidence that either pets or production animals play any role in the spread of COVID-19,” said Professor
Anette Bøtner from Copenhagen University and Head of Section at the State Serum Institute in the article "Coronavirus in
Danish production animals, pets and wild animals,” published in the Danish Veterinary Journal.

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