Interventions and compliance
How the response to COVID-19 reflects decades of retail food protection efforts
Preventing the spread of infectious disease relies heavily upon the development and implementation of public health interventions. The requisite debate over the effectiveness of these interventions is accompanied by discussions about which, if any, should be made mandatory. We contend that efforts to mandate interventions in the fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have clear similarities to the longstanding efforts to establish and promote retail food safety interventions. Specific similarities are that science is rarely the sole driver in deciding public health mandates and individuals’ responses to them, compliance is key but can be difficult to achieve, and the concurrent incorporation of two or more interventions is a barrier against poor compliance. As these factors have a direct effect on the success of public health mandates, understanding the role and relationships among them can aid government and public health officials in ongoing efforts to prevent foodborne illness and slow the spread of COVID-19.
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