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UPCOM Conference 2022

UPCOM Conference, 30th June 2022


Understanding and Preventing COVID-19 in Meat Processing Plants (UPCOM) - Prepared for the Future

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a zoonotic respiratory virus that is responsible for the global pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Several large outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported in meat processing plants (MPPs) in many countries including Ireland, since early 2020. Understanding virus transmission routes within these food production facilities is an important risk mitigation step. How operational factors such as ventilation rates, occupancy levels and the proximity of workers to each other affect these transmission dynamics must be elucidated, in order to reduce risk to public health and ensure the security of the food supply – not just for COVID-19 but also for other zoonoses or pandemics, now and in the face of future potential emerging diseases that may occur.

UPCOM (www.upcom.ie) is a Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded project, designed to address these risk factors within the MPP production environment. The project is led by Professors Grace Mulcahy and Séamus Fanning of University College Dublin (UCD) in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM). The project also involves collaboration between other academic institutions; food business operators both national and international; national regulatory agencies and international bodies including the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.

UPCOM Conference 2022

Who attended?

This one-day conference was of interest to stakeholders across the modern food chain, including academics, food producers; processors, regulators, and public health specialists, with an interest in COVID-19 risk mitigation and better preparedness for future pandemics.

When did the conference take place?

The conference was held on Thursday 30th June 2022 as a hybrid event (in-person and online) and was co-hosted by DAFM and UCD at the Backweston Campus in Co. Kildare. There was no attendance fee, but registration via Eventbrite was essential. (opens in a new window)https://www.eventbrite.ie/e/upcom-conference-covid-19-risk-mitigation-in-the-food-industry-registration-335227814417

The meeting programme can be found at the project web site above.

UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Sports Science

University College Dublin Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
T: +353 1 716 7777 | E: public.health@ucd.ie