Across the Nutra-verse: COVID-19 dominates global headlines, and more

By Stephen Daniells contact

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / denphumi
© Getty Images / denphumi

Related tags: COVID-19

A lot has happened in the global nutrition industry over the past seven days, the majority of which is linked to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Stay on top of things with our weekly round-up of key news from across the nutra-verse.

USA

COVID-19 concerns leads FDA to suspends most on-site inspections

In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, the US Food and Drug Administration announced that it is scaling back GMP inspections and is waiving certain FSMA requirements.

In additional comments, Dr Stephen Hahn MD, the FDA’s Commissioner, said the agency had already put work from home mandates in place, and this new directive is an extension of that.

Dr Hahn said: “While this does not apply to those carrying out non-portable activities, such as certain lab activities or the monitoring of imported products, we will continue to adjust our approach to a number of activities, including facility inspections for all FDA-regulated products such as food, animal feed, drugs, biological products, devices and tobacco.

“We must ensure our workforce remains healthy to carry out the FDA’s critical public health mission to keep Americans safe.”

FDA had earlier suspended its inspections of facilities in China.

Inspections of imported products will continue, added Dr Hahn, but for the moment domestic facility inspections are suspended.  The agency will seek other ways, including document review, to perform some of the functions that would otherwise have taken place in a physical audit.

For more on this, please click HERE​.

Europe

Holland and Barrett imposes limits on immunity products amid COVID-19 panic buying

Health and wellness retailer Holland and Barrett introduced sales limits to reduce panic buying and introduced a dedicated one-hour shopping window for the elderly and vulnerable.

The retailer also took steps to reassure its customers of its increased hygiene controls and inform of new measures to ensure customers can get the health products that are in high demand during this fast-developing Coronavirus pandemic.

In an email to customers, CEO Tony Buffin stated: “We are encouraging contactless card payments in store where possible, we are providing hand sanitisers to our teams, we have further intensified cleaning and are offering advice around social distancing for customers in store and to our teams.

"We will also be introducing a one-hour shopping window for our elderly and more vulnerable customers at the start of each day during the week. While this won’t be an enforced window, we trust you will respect this special group of customers and provide them with the time and space we have offered them to shop.

“For those who are not as comfortable ordering online or who do not have access to our website, we are introducing a new call centre number. This will enable you to place your orders and seek advice from some of our longest serving and most capable colleagues who have kindly volunteered to provide this service.”

For more on this, please click HERE​.

Asia

COVID-19: China retailers and suppliers report surge in demand for Vitamin C supplements

Sale of vitamin C dietary supplements on Chinese e-commerce giant JD increased five-fold, reportedly linked to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Significant sales increases were seen for vitamin C effervescent tablets, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) brand Banlangen, and Xiao Chaihu (herbal formula).

According to NutraIngredients-Asia​, JD said the virus outbreak was the cause of the surge consumption, and its higher online sales was attributed to consumers preferring to order delivery online instead of going to supermarket to purchase products.

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