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Covid 19 and food sector support

The so-called “pingdemic” has led to some concerns about the supply of food to shops and supermarkets.

As a result, the government in England has introduced two schemes. The first permits businesses considered to be critical to food supply to establish on-site daily testing for those required to self-isolate.

Provided that individuals test negative and continue to test negative over a full week (ie seven days in all including rest days) they can continue to work regardless of vaccination status.

The second permits named individuals who have been fully vaccinated to continue to work, provided they are nominated by their companies, fulfil a critical occupation and receive a dispensation letter from DEFRA.

The critical occupation list includes flour millers, maintenance engineers, quality assurance staff and (some) forklift truck staff. We have asked that flour tanker drivers be added.

Thanks to members who have responded to surveys we have been able to keep the government briefed on levels of absence. For flour milling the situation seems to be manageable, with no business reporting significant issues, although there are worries about the potential impact if larger numbers of people have to self-isolate .

Across the whole chain, most concerns relate to haulage, with many reports of driver shortage. For more information please contact Alex Costigliola or Alex Waugh.


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