Now that the coronavirus (COVID-19) has become part of every operation’s food safety protocol, facilities need a leadership team dedicated to managing their processes in what remains a fluid environment for bakeries and snack producers.

“Given the speed at which circumstances are changing, the team should meet regularly to review and update the COVID-19 processes as required,” advised Jessica Burke, senior manager, technical services for BRCGS, which provides certification standards under the Global Food Safety Initiative. “The team should be considering government advice, staff sickness and customer requirements.”

In Baking & Snack’s May report on audits and certification, she recommended increased emphasis on critical control points (CCPs). Backup employees should be trained to manage these CCPs in case of absenteeism, and best practices should be highlighted for new employees. If bakeries employ high levels of temporary staff due to higher absenteeism, they should review their food defense plans with an emphasis on managing any increased vulnerability. Moreover, Ms. Burke stressed that all food processors should identify emergency supplier and raw material approval procedures if they’re unable to obtain ingredients from their regular suppliers and then find different ways of approving raw materials suppliers when audits can’t be undertaken.

Many food companies have learned from their mistakes over the past few months. There’s no need to repeat them. Today’s playbook for food safety now provides plenty of guidance for protecting employees and keeping their operations running at maximum levels to meet customer needs — even as Memorial Day kicks off the summertime bun season. Now comes the hard part. Executing that plan on a 24/7 basis.