Meat processors in the UK are reporting massive strains on their production lines, as increasing numbers of staff are instructed to self-isolate for 10 days as a result of close contact with COVID-19 cases.

The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has said that one in 10 of its workforce has been told to self-isolate by the NHS COVID-19 app.

BMPA CEO Nick Allen told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Friday that between 5% and 10% of the workforce has been ‘pinged’ by the app and asked to self-isolate.

“This is on top of the desperate shortage of workers that the industry is already suffering.

"As a result, companies are having to simplify down their range of products to compensate for key skills being removed from their production lines,” Allen said.

“If the UK workforce situation deteriorates further, companies will be forced to start shutting down production lines altogether.

“It’s for this reason that we’ve been calling on the Government for months to add butchers to the shortage occupation list, which would allow the industry to temporarily fill these growing vacancies with overseas workers until the current crisis has passed.”