Many of you are already aware that on 11th March 2020 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic, an outbreak that is a public health emergency for people, societies and the global economy.
As highlighted in the recent message from the IFEAT Executive Chairman, IFEAT and other industry organisations including the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) and the International Organisation of the Flavor Industry (IOFI) among others, fully supports the need for the determined measures put in place by governments around the globe in order to slow down the spread the contagion and to strengthen the resilience of health care systems as a foremost priority.
In parallel, IFEAT in association with affiliated industry organisations calls on governments to include factories manufacturing fragrance and flavour ingredients and formulations to be recognised as ‘critical infrastructure’ or ‘essential business’ in combating the current COVID-19 pandemic, and therefore exempt these facilities from measures that would restrict access to employees and close operations thereby limiting disruption of the business operations.
In this respect, the authorities in several countries have responded favourably. For example, on 19th March 2020, the Cybersecurity & Intelligence Agency under the Department of Homeland Security in the United States of America issued a memorandum on which workers should be considered essential ‘critical infrastructure’ workers, that includes the following:
Manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood and blood products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitising, disinfecting or sterilisation supplies, and tissue and paper towel products.
Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees — to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging.
Indeed, natural complex substances (NCS) including essential oils and their derivatives are important ingredients of all consumer products – flavourings and food, drinks, hygiene, washing, sanitising and pharmaceutical-medical products. Thus, all farmers, producers and traders in this sector should be recognised as those who shall receive all necessary assistance to carry on their business.
In this respect, IFEAT also supports the statement of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission (26th March 2020) signalling that the free movement of goods and services is the strongest and only asset to ensure that supplies can go to where they are needed most by calling for so-called priority ‘green lanes’ for essential freight transport. These would also ensure that critical merchandise crossing borders should not experience unnecessary delays and that goods and supplies can reach their destinations promptly to all avoid shortages.
As announced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo last week (26th March 2020) further to an extraordinary G20 summit on COVID-19, IFEAT welcomes the pledge by the Group of 20 major economies to work together to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and to restore confidence, preserve financial stability, revive growth and recover stronger.
Equally, IFEAT lends its approval and support to the stated resolve to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, critical agricultural products, and other goods and services across borders, thereby facilitating trade and coordinated responses in ways that avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade and minimise disruptions to global supply chains.
One of the most effective means of addressing this crisis is through timely, accurate information. An informed public is better positioned to make sound decisions including on questions related to trade. IFEAT remains committed to supporting the business activities and public health concerns of its Members by lending its support and resources to the causes mentioned here and by providing regular trade-related and other relevant information including notifications from other flavour and fragrance industry associations as well as global trade organisations.
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IFEAT Executive Committee
International Fragrance Association (IFRA)
Fragrance Creators Association
International Organisation of the Flavor Industry (IOFI)
World Trade Organisation (WTO)
International Trade Centre (ITC)