Food supply deemed ‘Essential’
On Tuesday, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new guidance on ‘essential’ and ‘key worker’ criteria and stated that:
Scottish businesses involved in food supply should remain open if possible, subject to being able to adhere to two requirements:
· safe social distancing practice
· normal health and safety requirements.
This will bring some relief to the food and farming sector, who have been in some limbo and worrying about animal welfare as well as the extremely important need to maintain food supply during the current crisis. We understand that some farm workers have been stopped by police and asked to verify their purpose of travelling. If this worries you, NFUS have produced a template letter for workers to carry as an interim measure while they try and get something official from ScotGov.
If you cannot meet both the requirements, the Scottish Government guidance is to close the business’ doors. Now would be a good time to review your H&S and refresh your risk assessments and HACCPs (for HACCP see Section 8 of the SOPA Organic Processing Standards).
The First Minister’s clarification on businesses involved in food supplies is because they are “contributing something essential to the well-being of the nation.”
Impact of Coronavirus
Remember we are seeking your views on how you are coping with COVID-19 and if there is anything we can do nationally to assist. Please complete our quick anonymous survey (only 6 questions) here
We are experiencing some postal delays due to the pressures put on national logistics at the moment. We would therefore advise that you use email or telephone to contact us, and all payments should be made via electronic banking rather than cheque. Download the full list of new SOPA & OF&G Scotland Contact Details here.
Organic Suppliers Guide
We are currently reviewing our 2019 Organic Christmas Guide for shoppers and putting together a Guide for shoppers who wish to buy local and organic in the current climate. With supermarket shopping under pressure we want to be able to direct shoppers to their best local food shop wherever possible. That may be online orders, delivery or a farm retail outlet. If you wish to be listed, or possibly don’t wish to be listed due to pressure from increased demand or business closure, please get in touch with SOPA Member Services here or on 0300 772 9795.