Food Safety and Its Impact on Health and Healthcare in the Age of COVID-19

A special issue of Healthcare (ISSN 2227-9032). This special issue belongs to the section "Coronaviruses (CoV) and COVID-19 Pandemic".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2023) | Viewed by 8567

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
School of International and Public Affairs, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai 200030, China
Interests: risk analysis; food safety; decisions under information asymmetry; policy science

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food plays a pivotal role in people’s health and has remained a constant topic of major public concern all over the world throughout history. There is presently some evidence that suggests that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on food products and packaging, threatening human health and creating a challenge for healthcare systems. Government authorities in many countries [1–4] and the World Health Organization [5] suggest physical distancing measures in social life and offer operational guidance on both food output and food consumption.

Today, COVID-19 continues to represent an immediate and unpredictable health risk in food supply/consumption. As a result, it is theoretically critical to estimate the health risk of food processing and the responses of healthcare systems in the age of COVID-19. As an international journal with global impact, Healthcare is launching a Special Issue on these issues with the aim to publish high-quality papers on recent investigations.

This Special Issue seeks empirical and practical studies, examining the response of health systems around the world to the risk posed to food safety by the virus that causes COVID-19, specifically on topics including but not limited to:

  • Food safety risk assessment in the age of COVID-19;
  • Healthy risk associated with food consumption;
  • Public psychology or/and physiological responses;
  • Strategies of food production/consumption systems;
  • Challenges and responses of healthcare systems/sectors;
  • Health policies;
  • Appetite and healthy diet;
  • Other.

References

  1. National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China. Technical Guide of COVID-19 Coronavirus Prevention and Control for Cold Chain Products, 22 October 2020. Available online: http://www.nhc.gov.cn/cms-search/xxgk/getManuscriptXxgk.htm?id=ff228979f1534c3abca56559f14ea115 (accessed on 1 April 2022).
  2. U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Food Safety and the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), 27 February 2022. Available online: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/food-safety-and-coronavirus-disease-2019-covid-19 (accessed on 1 April 2022).
  3. Public Health England; Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. COVID-19: Guidance for Food Businesses, 25 March 2020. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-food-businesses (accessed on 1 April 2022).
  4. European Commission, Directorate-General of Health and Food Safety. COVID-19 and Food Safety Question and Answers, 8 April 2020. Available online: https://ec.europa.eu/food/system/files/2020-04/biosafety_crisis_covid19_qandas_en.pdf (accessed on 1 April 2022).
  5. World Health Organization. COVID-19 and Food Safety: Guidance for Food Businesses, 7 April 2020. Available online: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/covid-19-and-food-safety-guidance-for-food-businesses (accessed on 1 April 2022).

Dr. Guanghua Han
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Healthcare is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

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Keywords

  • Food safety
  • Health
  • Healthcare
  • Policies
  • Assessment

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 527 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Regional COVID-19 Outbreak on Consumers’ Risk Perception of Purchasing Food Online
by Weijun Liu, Mengzhen Cao and Wojciech J. Florkowski
Healthcare 2023, 11(11), 1571; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11111571 - 26 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1076
Abstract
This paper examines the perception of risk associated with the presence of coronavirus in food purchased online and online vs. offline food shopping during the COVID-19 epidemic. The influence of COVID-19 status on risk perception was tested using the data collected from 742 [...] Read more.
This paper examines the perception of risk associated with the presence of coronavirus in food purchased online and online vs. offline food shopping during the COVID-19 epidemic. The influence of COVID-19 status on risk perception was tested using the data collected from 742 consumers between December 2021 and January 2022. The empirical approach distinguished between the epidemic’s status in a province (or region), city, and other areas of the country and applied the ordered logit technique. The regional and citywide epidemic increased the perception that online purchases carry the virus and are riskier than those made offline. Further examination showed that the regional/provincial epidemic created the perception that packaging or social media use were risk factors when purchasing food online. Heterogeneity analysis showed that risk perception was significantly higher in affected cities than in non-affected provinces or other provinces. Risk perception differed across five online food categories, with the highest levels for online-ordered meals and fresh products. Strengthening COVID-19 prevention and control in cities and the province, managing risk due to the handling of food purchased online, and government monitoring of social media use will lessen consumers’ risk perceptions and encourage the use of online food offers during epidemics. Full article
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18 pages, 457 KiB  
Article
Food Safety Governance in the Age of COVID-19: How Does Employees’ Attitude on Public-Private Governance System Affect Their Willingness to Blow the Whistle on Food Violations?
by Zechen Liu, Zengjin Liu and Guanghua Han
Healthcare 2023, 11(2), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare11020167 - 5 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1487
Abstract
Online food delivery increases dramatically during the COVID-19 era and has grown into a global marketplace worth more than $150 billion dollars, necessitating a more effective and responsive governance system. Public-private governance systems with whistleblowing to the public are seen as an effective [...] Read more.
Online food delivery increases dramatically during the COVID-19 era and has grown into a global marketplace worth more than $150 billion dollars, necessitating a more effective and responsive governance system. Public-private governance systems with whistleblowing to the public are seen as an effective tool for addressing the formidable challenges of food security in modern society. Accordingly, this study aims to explore the determinants of whistleblowing intentions and to propose policy policies for the whistleblowing system to fully utilize the advantages of public-private governance systems. Through empirical research, this paper finds that employees’ perceived effectiveness of government authorities, as well as their familiarity with whistleblowing systems, positively affect their intentions to blow the whistle. However, the whistleblowing intent of restaurant employees is adversely affected by the online platform’s focus. The root cause lies in the employee’s trust in both the government sector and corporate sector. This study thus argues that a suite of measures to promote individual trust in public-private governance systems is desired and that this is an effective means of better mitigating food safety governance challenges in terms of capacity and resources. Full article
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16 pages, 289 KiB  
Article
Consumers’ Channel Preference for Fresh Foods and Its Determinants during COVID-19—Evidence from China
by Xujin Pu, Jingyi Chai and Rongtao Qi
Healthcare 2022, 10(12), 2581; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10122581 - 19 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1838
Abstract
The public has been experiencing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years. Government measures, such as improvements in offline markets and the encouragement of contactless e-commerce use, have been taken to abate the spread of infection. This study explored [...] Read more.
The public has been experiencing unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic for the past two years. Government measures, such as improvements in offline markets and the encouragement of contactless e-commerce use, have been taken to abate the spread of infection. This study explored whether public channel preferences for fresh foods have changed and aimed to identify potential determinants. Data from 10,708 consumers were obtained by issuing questionnaires, and the binary logic measurement model was used for the empirical analysis to study the core factors that determine consumers’ choice of online and offline purchase channels for fresh food. The results show that, from the perspective of consumers’ personal behavior, consumers who do not pay attention to online evaluations and consumers who do not buy products based on their purchase experience have increased the frequency of online fresh food purchases during the epidemic. Food safety also significantly affects consumers’ choices of purchase channels. Consumers who believe that online fresh foods are safer prefer to purchase fresh food online. Among the factors affecting the performance of online fresh food, consumers concerned about food safety increased the frequency of online purchases, while consumers concerned about the reputation of the platform decreased the frequency of online purchases. These findings can help online and offline retailers better understand consumer needs and then determine their marketing strategies. Full article
16 pages, 662 KiB  
Article
How Has the COVID-19 Pandemic Changed Urban Consumers’ Ways of Buying Agricultural Products? Evidence from Shanghai, China
by Zengjin Liu, Jing Zhao, Zhuo Yu, Zhou Zhou, Liyuan Wang and Yusheng Chen
Healthcare 2022, 10(11), 2264; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10112264 - 11 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1753
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s consumption behavior and habits. This paper takes Shanghai, China as a case study and uses a questionnaire survey of urban residents in all districts in Shanghai from April to May in 2022. Herein, [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s consumption behavior and habits. This paper takes Shanghai, China as a case study and uses a questionnaire survey of urban residents in all districts in Shanghai from April to May in 2022. Herein, we empirically analyze the factors affecting shopping modes for agricultural products, describe how things have changed compared to before the outbreak of the pandemic, and explore the underlying mechanism. This paper can provide a policy reference for how to ensure the safety of people’s food supply in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results show that urban residents pay more attention to the basic attributes of agricultural products such as the quantity guarantee and health safety, and will adjust their consumption modes for agricultural products according to the needs of families and management. Compared with shopping malls and supermarkets, the quantity and quality assurance of community groups and e-commerce platforms can better meet the consumption situation of agricultural products during the pandemic period. The moderating effect of consumer commodity preference in the positive influence of safety evaluation on the transformation of shopping mode is significant. In general, online e-commerce platforms and community group buying have played a significant role in ensuring the acquisition of supplies needed by people during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it remains to be determined whether the changes in the shopping modes for agricultural products of urban consumers brought by the current COVID-19 pandemic are long term or solidified. Full article
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10 pages, 1014 KiB  
Article
The Relationship between Mustard Import and COVID-19 Deaths: A Workflow with Cross-Country Text Mining
by Ge Zhan, Fuming Yang, Liangbo Zhang and Hanfeng Wang
Healthcare 2022, 10(10), 2071; https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare10102071 - 18 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1606
Abstract
We developed a workflow for the search and screening of natural products by drawing from worldwide experiences shared by online platform users, illustrated how to cope with COVID-19 with a text-mining approach, and statistically tested the natural product identified. We built a knowledge [...] Read more.
We developed a workflow for the search and screening of natural products by drawing from worldwide experiences shared by online platform users, illustrated how to cope with COVID-19 with a text-mining approach, and statistically tested the natural product identified. We built a knowledge base, which consists of three ontologies pertaining to 7653 narratives. Mustard emerged from texting mining and knowledge engineering as an important candidate relating to COVID-19 outcomes. The findings indicate that, after controlling for the containment index, the net import of mustard is related with reduced total and new deaths of COVID-19 for the non-vaccination time period, with considerable effect size (>0.2). Full article
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