Some meat processors are seeing up to 10 percent of their workforce having to self-isolate due to the current 'pingdemic' crisis, the sector has warned.
The staff absences are caused by factory employees being told to isolate by NHS Test and Trace, according to the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA).
Figures show show that half a million people in England and Wales were 'pinged' by the Covid app in the week to 7 July, an increase of 46% on the previous week.
Nick Allen, chief executive of BMPA, told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme that some of its members were seeing staff shortages of between 5% and 10%.
This was on top of the 'desperate' shortage of workers that the industry was already suffering, he added.
As a result, some companies are having to simplify down their range of products to compensate for key skills being removed from their production lines.
Mr Allen explained that, if the UK workforce situation deteriorated further, companies could be forced to start shutting down production lines all together.
It’s for this reason that the sector has been calling on the government to add butchers to the Shortage Occupation List.
According to the BMPA, this would allow the industry to temporarily fill these growing vacancies with overseas workers until the current crisis has passed.
Elsewhere, retailer Iceland has been forced to close stores due to staff shortages caused by people being told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace.
The supermarket chain said it has now had to temporarily close shops because 1,000 staff have been 'pinged' by the app.
The government plans to relax self-isolation rules on 16 August, but the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said on Monday that 'speed was of the essence' amid staff shortages.
CBI president Karan Bilimoria, said: “With restrictions being lifted and cases rapidly increasing, we urgently need a surefooted approach from government.
“Building and maintaining confidence is key to securing the economic recovery. Mask-wearing in enclosed spaces, especially transport, will help create confidence for both staff and customers, as will clarity around the future availability of free testing for employees.”