Food and farming businesses can now register for free Covid-19 workplace testing, according to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).

Businesses with a minimum of 50 employees can now register for Government-funded lateral flow tests for asymptomatic workers, with kits available until 31st March 2021.

A lateral flow device (LFD) allows workers to test for Covid-19 from home on a weekly basis, but the Government is also encouraging firms to establish asymptomatic testing sites (ATS) in the workplace.

National Farmers Union (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 DHSC have secured this testing for those food businesses, including farmers and growers where they have over 50 employees.

“We will continue to work closely with Government on reducing the need for those workers testing negative to self-isolate, and for smaller businesses to access mass testing facilities.”

According to the NFU, Government has confirmed it is working on alternative plans for businesses with less than 50 employees. It adds that in the meantime, businesses with fewer than 50 employees should contact their local authority to explore the possibility of using the community testing facilities that are being rolled out across the country.

Photograph: NFU deputy president, Stuart Roberts.