Very good points, QAGB. As I mentioned in the other thread, I was a bit taken aback that one of our suppliers had gone out of their way to state that their process was sufficient, when there is currently an overwhelming scarcity of solid scientific data at present - hence my suggestion that any such statement is "no current evidence that...", rather than going the whole way with "it can't happen".
I suppose there is a lot of panic and the default expectation in this industry is that QA/technical people are expected to deal in certainties*, whereas here no surety of any sort can really be given, irrespective of how much businesses and consumers would like that not to be the case...
*Obviously we pretty much never deal in certainties as in a large number of cases this is not a scientifically valid concept, but that's not always a popular interpretation
Given the current global effects of the Coronavirus, having sourced any ingredients from areas that have been affected is a case of confirming to the end consumers that the products are produced in accordance with good manufacturing practice and that raw materials and related products are sourced from approved suppliers and those suppliers are with the statements that product can't or won't be affected due to their human resource scanning processess and material handling practices.
The problem as I see it is that none of us are in a position to be able to make such an assertion at present. By the time we've identified a staff member affected with the virus and excluded them from the factory, it's possibly already been transmitted to other people...
As for handling practices, at present there is no evidence of transmission via food, at least that I'm aware of, but this is alas not the same as actual scientific validation of this being the case.
It still remains the case that the vast majority of questions we're getting are focussing on continuity of supply, but we do now have customers also wanting confirmation that ingredients even from non-affected areas (the increasingly few that remain) is also not shipped through affected areas. This is going to become completely impractical quite quickly at the current rate though!