Supermarkets have been forced to introduce buying limits once again after supply chain issues left shelves empty.

The increasing COVID-19 case numbers and subsequent isolation requirements have put pressure on food manufacturers and the transport and retail sector.

On Wednesday Coles reintroduced temporary buying limits on meat and poultry.

A spokesperson told AAP it was expected to take several weeks before things returned to normal.

The latest national cabinet meeting resulted in changes to testing requirements for truck drivers, removing the need for a PCR test every seven days.

The prime minister said the decision was key to ensuring food distribution networks could continue moving.

“We need truckies keeping on trucking … to keep moving things around,” he told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

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Transport Workers Union national secretary Michael Kaine told AAP the industry welcomed the changes to testing which had been putting significant pressure on the sector.

But he said transport workers needed priority access to rapid tests to keep the industry moving.

“These tests are an important weapon in the fight against the virus, and without them, the virus is hitching a ride through transport supply chains, putting workers and the industry in danger,” he said.

The Victorian Farmers Federation called on the federal government to rethink isolation rules for workers in the industry as had been done for healthcare workers.

President Emma Germano said asymptomatic workers deemed close contacts of COVID-19 cases should have their isolation period reduced to lessen the pressure on food supply chains.

Meanwhile as of Thursday Woolworths had not introduced buying limits.

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A spokesperson said stores had been impacted by supply chain issues but deliveries were still arriving daily.

They said stores will continue monitoring shelves in coming days and asked shoppers to be mindful of others when stocking up.

AAP

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