RAPID workplace testing for farmers and workers in agriculture is being made available by the Government.

The NFU has been pushing hard for this to help guarantee the nation’s food supplies.

The Government says that all businesses, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can register for government-funded lateral flow tests for asymptomatic workers.

The free lateral flow kits will be available until June 30, 2021, but businesses must register by March 31, 2021, as explained by the secretary of state for Environment, Food and Rural affairs, George Eustice.

The Government is inviting employers with workers who cannot work from home to establish asymptomatic testing sites (ATSs) in the workplace, which will allow both employees and contractors to access lateral flow devices (LFDs) and receive rapid Covid-19 results.

It will provide support to do this by: a limited period of free LFDs shipped to one location; a clinically approved protocol (standard operating procedures); a guidebook to explain how to set up and run a safe and effective testing site; on-demand training for the operatives that will process tests and run the site; and a GDPR-compliant digital solution to report results to Public Health England.

NFU deputy president Stuart Roberts said: “We strongly welcome the move to get to rapid asymptomatic workplace testing in place for those still working incredibly hard to produce the nation’s food.

“It has always been important during times of crisis to keep workers safe and our shops and fridges full, so it’s great that Defra and the Department of Health and Social Care have secured this testing for all food businesses, regardless of the number of employees.

“We will continue to work closely with government on reducing the need for those workers testing negative to self-isolate.”

Establishing an ATS site may not be feasible or viable for smaller businesses or premises with fewer than 50 employees. For smaller businesses, sole traders and the self-employed, access to testing is also available through local authorities who are establishing testing sites for those without symptoms within their local areas. Visit your local authority’s website to find out more about their testing services.

To register for tests, visit www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests.