Food producers are putting measures in place to ensure continuity of production.

Both meat and dairy processors have introduced staggered breaks, isolated teams and restricted access to facilities by visitors in order to curb the spread of Covid-19 in production facilities.

There has been a steady increase in demand for meat and dairy products from retailers, as people stock up.

But despite this, one farm organisation has criticised meat factories for reducing the price sheep farmers are paid for their animals.

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA) has accused meat factories of "profiteering".

The organisation's Sean McNamara said: "Lamb prices are being slashed by up to 50c/kg this week even though supply cannot meet demand in domestic markets".

In a statement, the ICSA beef chair Edmund Graham said beef processors should be holding or increasing their prices at this time and that there is no justification for price cuts.

"Factories must not use Covid-19 as an excuse to drive down prices. The evidence of recent days shows there is hyped up demand for all sorts of products, and beef shouldn't be any different. ICSA will not tolerate primary producers taking the hit again," he said.

The organisation has questioned how meat factories can cut prices even though they can't keep lamb and other meats on the shelves in retail outlets.

While there has been an increase in demand on the retail side, food service industry orders have virtually collapsed as pubs, restaurants and hotels close their doors.

Similarly in the dairy sector, there has been a huge increase in demand for dairy products in shops, but the food service element of the business is in sharp decline.

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