Leading care home meals provider apetito has been piloting Lateral Flow Testing (LFT) at its food production and distribution sites in the south-west.
Since December, the company has carried out voluntary, weekly tests on around 450 front-line essential workers.
Lee Sheppard, Director of Corporate Affairs and Policy, said: “apetito has a critical role in providing food during the COVID-19 pandemic. We serve some of the most vulnerable and ‘at risk’ in hospitals, care homes, nurseries, and schools. And ‘at home’ through Meals on Wheels and Wiltshire Farm Foods.
“During COVID-19, our services are more important than ever before, as many of our vulnerable customers may be solely reliant upon us for their meal provision.
“Ensuring our front-line services are able to continue to operate is therefore crucial – working to quickly implement a rapid testing programme across our manufacturing and distribution sites has built resilience into our business – as well as reassuring our staff and customers that we were doing everything possible to support their safety whilst at work.
“Having seen the benefits, we were keen to support the Government’s drive for food industry rapid testing – it’s crucial that we all work together to combat this virus and keep essential services running.”
The rapid testing scheme is built on rigorous procedures already implemented across apetito’s business since March. This includes temperature monitoring of all staff and visitors to site, the creation of working cohorts and staff segregation, extended production lines to facilitate social distancing, one-way circuits, the use of perspex screens within the kitchens and the development of an App-based desk-booking system to control numbers on site.