Why did grocery stores run out of stock so quickly when panic buyers began hoarding supplies? What are the safety risks of keeping large amounts of food at home? Can one catch COVID-19 through food? And how will the pandemic affect food trade and prices in the coming months?
The University of Guelph has several experts who can offer comment.
Food supply, food security and food trade
Prof. Evan Fraser
Fraser is the director of U of G’s Arrell Food Institute and can discuss the larger global food system and the ways in which panic buying and hoarding witnessed both in Canada and around the world expose a lack of resilience in our food supply system.
Fraser recently wrote a commentary for Conversation Canada in which he said that our current “just-in-time” food delivery model that keeps costs low and operations lean has left the food supply vulnerable.
Fraser holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and studies food security, food prices, rural agricultural policy and how each is affected by climate change.
Food safety and coronavirus transmission
Prof. Lawrence Goodridge
Goodridge is a researcher in the Department of Food Science who can discuss the potential health risks of hoarding large amounts of perishable food, how it could lead to improper food storage and potential increased risks for foodborne illness.
He can also discuss questions about whether transmission of the new coronavirus can occur through preparing or consuming raw foods, such as salad ingredients. He can offer precautions that should be taken when handling food to avoid transmission of this virus.
Goodridge holds the Leung Family Professorship in Food Safety in the Department of Food Science and pursues interdisciplinary research on food-borne pathogens.
Food supply, restaurants and grocers
Prof. Mike Von Massow
Von Massow is a food economist in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics and can discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting food supply chains. He can also discuss how the shutdowns has been impacting food trade, restaurants and food retailers.
Von Massow studies structure and performance of food value chains, the economics of food demand in restaurant and retail, management science and operations, and pricing strategy.
Food trade and food prices
Prof. Simon Somogyi
Somogyi is the Arrell Chair in the Business of Food in U of G’s Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics and studies agri-food supply chain management and agribusiness marketing. He can discuss the effects the pandemic could have on the food supply in the coming weeks and months
As a co-author of the annual Canada Food Price Report, Somogyi can also discuss the effectsof the pandemic, the resulting supply problems and the low Canadian dollar could affect food prices in the coming months.