MOY PARK is to trial rapid lateral flow tests across sites in England and Northern Ireland as part of a pilot scheme aimed at allowing food businesses to operate more normally.
The tests provide results within 30 minutes and it is hoped that the scheme will uncover asymptomatic cases of coronavirus in workers.
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Those who test positive could then be quickly identified before they can spread the disease in workplaces.
Around one-in-three people with coronavirus show no symptoms of the disease.
Outbreaks of coronavirus have proved incredibly disruptive for some poultrymeat processors.
Reduced capacity in slaughterhouses has led to birds being culled on-farm in some cases.
Moy Park said it planned to test all staff and site visitors in the pilot, which could be rolled out to other food businesses if successful.
Kirsty Wilkins, HR and performance director at Moy Park said: “We are proud to be playing our part to help tackle the spread of coronavirus by participating in the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) rapid testing pilot Programme.
“Rapid asymptomatic testing is considered an important element of the national strategy to tackle the pandemic, and this pilot will allow DHSC to gather more data to help define the best strategy moving forward, protecting those most vulnerable in our society.
“Safety is a condition at Moy Park, and we continue to maintain the highest level of vigilance to stop the virus coming into our facilities and help prevent its transmission.
“Participation in the pilot scheme runs in tandem with the rigorous safety protocols we have in place such as thermal temperature scanning, enhanced cleaning and hygiene regimes, Perspex screens, additional PPE and social distancing measures.”
Health minister Lord Bethell added: “We’ve already come so far since first setting up a national testing programme at an unprecedented pace to help counter Covid-19, but we continue to strive to go further, faster.
“Innovations such as LFD testing hold the key to the next phase of our ambition to see mass, rapid testing available to people across the country.
“I’m delighted that Moy Park is working with us to pilot the latest technology and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labour, both in helping target the virus locally and helping find ways to roll this technology out further soon.”