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The UK food supply chain is on the brink of failure,’ warns the meat industry.




A man stands next to a shelf without fresh meat in a supermarket as cases of coronavirus infection continue to rise worldwide in London, UK on March 15, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls//file photo

COVID-19 exacerbates labor shortages in meat processing ‘Pingdemic’ affecting multiple industries.

LONDON, July 21 (Reuters) – The UK’s food supply chain is at risk of failure as a COVID-19-related absence deepens severe labor shortages, a meat industry group said on Wednesday.

The British Meat Processing Association (BMPA) said the lack of skills was critical. Ignoring the impact of the pandemic, some factories reported that 10 to 16 percent of full-time workers were vacant.

In addition to the fundamental staff shortage, BMPA CEO Nick Allen said he’s heard from some members that between 5 and 10 percent of their staff have been ‘pinged’ by (medical services) apps to self-quarantine.

He said the labor shortage has affected meat products that require more labor to produce, meaning that the line will be cut first.

UK auto factories, railroads, supermarkets and pubs on Monday warned governments that a COVID-19 tracking app that ordered hundreds of thousands of workers to quarantine is hampering recovery and pushing supply chains to the brink of collapse. read more

The official app’s warning or “ping” to self-quarantine for 10 days for anyone confirmed to have been in contact with someone with the disease has also caused confusion in schools and the health care system.

The government has announced exemptions for some workers it has identified as important, including health and transportation workers, but said it doesn’t plan to make extensive rule changes.

Photos on social media reveal empty space on supermarket shelves as the so-called pandemic puts pressure on retailers’ ability to maintain hours and stock shelves.

Iceland Foods says more than 1,000 employees, or about 3% of its workforce, have been pinged by the app and asked to self-isolate, which has shortened transaction times and caused some stores to close.

It plans to hire an additional 2,000 employees in case of absence from work due to self-quarantine.

Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium’s industry lobby group, said the government must act quickly.

Retail workers and suppliers, who have played an important role during this pandemic, are allowing work if they have been double-vaccinated or can test negative for COVID-19 so that they do not interfere with the public’s ability to obtain food and other goods. You should. he said

Reports by James Davey and Kanishka Singh, edited by Barbara Lewis and Aurora Ellis

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle.




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