Ranjit Singh Boparan, president and founder of what is one of Britain’s biggest food producers claimed supermarket shelves would be bare and panic buying will intensify unless critical problems facing UK food supply are solved promptly.
"I have seen lots of change over the years – but nothing compares to now," said Boparan. "It started with the pandemic – and in the last week or so with ‘pingdemic’, but since May this year the operating environment has deteriorated so profoundly I can see no other outcome than major food shortages in the UK.
"Supply of chicken and turkey is under threat. Our retail partners and the wider supply chain have worked together closer than ever before to ensure we retain food supply and this is of huge credit to everyone. But we are at crisis point."
Food production staff excused from having to self-isolate
The Government yesterday (22 July) approved measures exempting certain types of workers from having to self isolate if they are 'pinged' or sent an alert by the NHS COVID-19 app. Food production staff were among the list of those who could ignore the app's advice. The situation has been causing chaos in the food industry as many production line workers are effectively taken out of action when they receive a notification via the app.
However, Boparan said the problem, dubbed the 'pingdemic' by the media, was just the tip of the iceberg.
“We are operating in a framework that’s complete madness and the Government needs to be called out for sticking their heads in the sand. ‘Pingdemic’ is not the issue for us.
"Why is the Government still paying furlough to around two million people with the economy essentially open and yet we have an on-going labour crisis? Why is it not reclassifying our frontline workers to the correct status so we have a corridor open for EU workers into the UK?
"The Government needs to act immediately if it wants to avoid the most serious food shortages that this country has seen in over 75 years. Not acting would be irresponsible.”