Support during the COVID-19 crisis

Although we are working remotely we are still working hard to support our members during the Covid-19 crisis.

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Scottish and Welsh updates and guidance

For the lastest latest updates on COVID-19 please visit: 

FDF Scotland

FDF Cymru


This page provides an overview of the latest updates on COVID-19, as well as detailed guidance for each of the below key topics. For each key topic, we outline the latest advice, including detailed Q&A's and links to government guidance.

Re-opening post-lockdown


Westminster has published it's 'plan to rebuild'

Government has also published non-statutory guidance to help employers, employees and the self- employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance covers eight different workplace settings. Of particular relevance to members will be the guidance aimed at factories, plants and warehouses, although others may also be relevant including vehicles, offices and laboratory settings. Of particular note, however, will be the request to publish risk assessments and the statement that companies must support employees who chose to wear face coverings.

Further guidance has been published including:

NHS Test and Trace – How it works

NHS Test and Trace – Workplace guidance

Guidance for contacts of people with possible or confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

Food Standards Agency - reopening checklist for food businesses during COVID-19

BSI safe working guidelines

FoodFarmHelp - COVID Winter Response Project


UK-wide travel quarantine rules

There remain requirements for people arriving back in the UK from some destinations abroad, the requirement to self-isolate and/or complete passenger locator forms. This changes on a regular basis so please see the Foreign and Commonwealth Office latest guidance. There are a number of exceptions to this that may be relevant to the food and drink sector and supply chain colleagues and contractors. Please see the following guidance:

New rules for arrival/return to the UK after 8 June 2020

Guidance on travelers exempt from UK border rules

Guidance for travelers on self-isolation

Contact form for arrival in the UK (see also exemptions) to be completed not more than 48 hours before you are due to arrive in the UK

Food safety and science

These links provide guidance on a range of topics relating to COVID-19 and food safety and science. The Q&A includes a variety of guidance for food businesses including from PHE, FSA, the European Commission and WHO. The Q&A also covers the risk of transmission by food and drink, labelling and health marks, standards, audits and inspections and acrylamide testing.

PHE guide for food businesses

FSA guidance for takeaways and food delivery businesses

FSA guidance for bulk freezing of ambient and chilled foods

FSA guidance for consumers on coronavirus (COVID-19) and food

FSA risk assessment on the risk of food or food contact materials being a source or transmission route of SARS-CoV-2 for UK consumers

Key workers

The UK government has announced workers in 'food and other necessary goods' will have 'key worker' status. This is defined as: “those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery, as well as those essential to the provision of other key goods (for example hygienic and veterinary medicines).

Clearly companies have a responsibility to ensure that only those workers who are necessary to ensure safe food production and delivery are still required to physically come to work. Anyone who can should work from home.

Social distancing and personal protective equipment (PPE)

Where possible companies should observe the government's '2 meter' rule. However due to factory design or the nature of the work, it is acknowledged this will not always be possible. Companies have implemented processes to help ensure the safety of their workers such as limiting movement through the factory, restricting numbers in rooms and staggering shifts or extending factory hours to help minimise the number of people arriving and leaving at the same time.

The most detailed guidance for food and drink manufacturers remains that published by FSS or by NIFDA. PHE and the Welsh Government have also both published guidance; these contain limited practical detail but indicate the type of approach expected of business.

The DHSC PPE Plan provides details on how companies who can produce PPE can contribute under its 'make' strategy.

Face Coverings

On public transport and in many indoor spaces, you must now wear a face covering by law, unless you are exempt. See guidance on staying safe outside your home for more information on face coverings.

PHE have produced guidance on how to wear face coverings, this includes how to wash face coverings.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of PPE by healthcare and other workers; these continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

Following sustained requests from FDF, DEFRA and the FSA have published additional guidance for food companies on the use of face coverings. The FAQ complements the government guidance on face coverings, and covers general questions on face coverings, the use of face coverings in food production/handling environments and in the retail environment. If face coverings are to be used in the manufacturing environment, the face coverings must be compatible with Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS). If face coverings are not allowed in the manufacturing environment, there should be company procedures on how to safely store the employees face covering.

Face Masks – Normal Health and Safety

The Health and Safety Executive has provided guidance relating to temporary changes which will last for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis relating to the use of face masks and food dust particles. In effect, it allows for the use of FFP2 masks in place of FFP3, where companies are unable to obtain stocks, and following a risk assessment and implementation of dust minimising measures.


Testing is currently available via the NHS for symptomatic individuals through home-testing kits, drive-through centres and a number of NHS facilities. In addition, employers are being asked to establish Asymptomatic Testing Sites in workplaces on a voluntary basis, which will provide confidence to employees and customers and help to protect and enable business continuity.

Government is inviting businesses in the food sector with more than 50 employees (with sites located in England) to register for the provision of government-funded lateral flow technology (LFT) to test asymptomatic workers. These free test kits will be available until June 2021 and find out how to apply, go to: If you have less than 50 employees, go to postcode checker to locate local community testing or contact to discuss alternative workforce testing solutions.

Introduction to LFD testing in the workplace

This is for antigen tests only (to identify if you have the virus). FDF can facilitate antigen (PCR) testing for member companies through our health care provide BUPA. Please email for details and costs. has also published a list of private providers.

For NHS tests Government has produced an information pack for employers which contains detailed information about how tests can be requested and the process that will be followed. A shorter overview is available via the FAQ document. Government resources to help inform employees about testing options are available.

Although the mechanism to request testing is the same in England and Scotland, Scottish Government has produced its own guidance to the programme, which provides detail of the Scottish Government's approach and a list of Scottish testing centres.

Watch FDF - DEFRA: Workforce Testing Webinar 15-02-21 on vimeo

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland employees need to email their name and a contact number to The Pubic Health Agency will then contact the employee direct to book an appointment at a test centre.

Government support schemes

This section provides the latest summary produced by FDF of the many schemes that have been introduced by UK Government and Devolved Administrations to provide financial support to aid UK businesses. FDF's paper provides a top line overview of each scheme and how businesses can access the support. This is updated regularly as new details are added to the Government's Business Support webpages.

BEIS Guidance on financial support for businesses

Government support finder tool through which you can find out which coronavirus financial support your business is eligible to receive


Coronavirus job retention scheme, employment law and statutory sick pay rebate scheme

This section provides guidance and the latest developments on the government's Job Retention Scheme. Employees who are placed on temporary leave in order to benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme are referred to as being 'furloughed'. The links below include key information for companies who will furlough staff, including legal information and how to calculate wages.

FDF has also provided guidance on the latest employment law relaxations and changes. FDF also provides guidance on the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, how to check if you can use it and how to claim.

HMRC Guidance - Check if you can claim for your employee's wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC Guidance - Work out 80% of your employees' wages to claim through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

HMRC Guidance - Claim for wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Additional support

It is important to note Government advice is changing and being updated as the situation develops. We highlight much of this information in our Q&A documents, but if you want to read the government information in full then the key Public Health England guidance are to employers and to those who are self-isolating.

BEIS has also launched a dedicated business support helpline so individuals can get advice on minimising and dealing with the impacts of Coronavirus. Businesses can call 0300 456 3565 Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, or email

Face Coverings

If you would like to purchase face coverings, the Government has partnered with a number of production facilities to offer approved, BSI kitemarked face coverings. Further details and contacts.

Please note these are face coverings, not PPE.


Lockdown Households – almost a year on

Levercliff share the fifth set of results from their tracking survey focusing on what consumers are doing now, what habits have stuck, what they feel is important to them, and some glimpses into their future plans.

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Workforce testing webinar

To help businesses in the sector access and implement workplace testing, FDF hosted a webinar with DEFRA, and guest speakers from other organisations. The webinar provides some insight into setting up and running workplace testing sites.

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COVID-19, a review of potential civil and regulatory risk, now and in the future

Presented by Willis Towers Watson. This webinar helps businesses across all sectors to understand the risks they face from COVID-19.

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See full listing


Support #HiddenHeroes

Please continue to support the FDF's #HiddenHeroes campaign on Twitter @foodanddrinkfed and @FDFCorpAffairs which is highlighting the hard work happening across the supply chain to keep the nation fed.

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Employment exchange and workforce collaborations

FDF have collaborated with job recruitment apps Placed, SonicJobs and Syft to share potential job opportunities across the food and drink industry, specifically in distribution warehouses, driving, and logistics

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Letter from George Eustice, Defra Secretary of State

The FDF is delighted that George Eustice, the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs wrote an open letter expressing his appreciation for the hidden heroes working on the front line of food and drink.

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Report: Covid-19: The impact of the incident on food and drink manufacturing

30 June 2020

The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges for food and drink producers. This report summarises the main issues, the challenges for food and drink producers then, now and going forward.

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FDF podcasts

FDF podcast: Passionate about food and drink

Weekly podcasts on developments within UK food industry featuring Ian Wright, CEO and key policy staff.

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