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Latest reports from Sky News suggest the exemption will apply to about 10,000 workers in the food supply chain industry, including those in up to 500 supermarket distribution centres and ‘some key food manufacturers’.

The Government is rolling out a trial testing system to 15 priority sites today (23 July) and a further 150 supermarket depots next week and several hundred food manufacturers after that, Sky News reported​. If workers ‘pinged’ by the NHS app test negative for COVID-19, they will not need to self-isolate. In addition, the Government has said that from 16 August, everyone who has had their two COVID-19 vaccinations will not need to self-isolate when ‘pinged’.

Richard Harrow, chief executive of the British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) said: “The government announcement last night that parts of the supply chain will be allowed to test and release workers that are pinged by Track and Trace only goes part of the way.

“It shows that yet again government does not understand how connected the food supply chain is. Only opening part is unlikely to solve the overall issue. Plus who is in and who is out, who decides and how do they decide? Confusion continues to pervade and I have been advised no list until Monday. This is worse than useless.”

Missing vital details

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) said George Eustice’s announcement last night (22 July) would bring some relief to the industry. However, he said it was still missing vital details and clear guidance on exactly how the measure would apply to individual companies and workers.

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