The chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has called for 'regulatory flexibility' as coronavirus labor shortages threaten the UK's meat supply.
Nick Allen has requested leeway when it comes to country-of-origin labeling, veterinary duties in abattoirs and the 10-day shelf-life rule.
He has also requested that government help put in place to protect businesses with less than 250 employees are extended to include large businesses operating in the food processing sector.
There is a concern within the industry that it could end up shutting down if infected workers come in - which is a possible risk, as the statutory sick pay of £94.25 per week is around 25 percent of a typical meat processing worker's pay.
Allen wants sick pay for all workers off work with coronavirus to be increased and refunded to all food companies irrespective of how many employees they have.
He said: "The sustained operation of the food industry is an essential service to the UK population and economy during this crisis.
"BMPA is working with farmers, retailers, Defra [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs], the Food Standards Agency and organizations up and down the food supply chain to formulate a pragmatic approach to these challenges.
"We are calling for some regulatory flexibility in areas such as country-of-origin labeling, veterinary duties in abattoirs and the 10-day shelf-life rule, which our research shows can be safely extended for all red meat. We now call on government to put the measures in place that will enable food processors and manufacturers to maintain supplies to the British public."