FEFAC urges EU action on food and feed supply due to coronavirus

Grains, oilseeds and food representatives are calling on the European Union (EU) to take steps to avoid disruption to the food and feed supply during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) said on 17 March that the longer restrictions to contain the virus remained in place, the higher the risk of shortages for food companies at any level of the food, feed and livestock chain, which would cause challenges for the European population to access regular supplies of food.

The organisation called for the inclusion of feed next to food in the list of essential goods mentioned in the EU Commission Guidelines on Border Management. Some member states such as Spain, Italy and Belgium, included feed supplies on their list of essential goods, but FEFAC appealed for a co-ordinated approach at EU level.

In addition, FEFA also called on EU and national authorities to take swift action to ensure that all food and feed, even if not perishable, could be transported across the EU unhindered as long as all required health safety measures were respected.

At the same time, the decision to close the EU outside borders taken on 16 March to contain the spread of the virus should not apply to vessels bringing in the food and feed raw materials that were in short supply, FEFA said, again, as long as every necessary health measure was taken to ensure the health of all links in the food and feed supply chain.

“For our processing plants to continue providing consumers with vegetable oils and livestock with protein meals, essential goods need to continue arriving to our facilities, which requires imperatively essential agricultural raw materials to be transported to and across the EU,” said John Grossman, the president of FEDIOL, the EU vegetable oil and protein meal industry association.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has spread quickly through western Europe with Italy, Germany and France among the countries currently hardest hit by the virus.