Katie Spence, PHE Midlands health protection director, said: “In line with NHS guidance, affected individuals were asked to self-isolate for seven days, with their households and close contacts asked to isolate for 14 days.
“As we have seen a global trend of large food producers being subject to outbreaks, as a precautionary measure, the decision was made to test the entire workforce.
“The initial batch of results showed a significant percentage of positive cases, despite these individuals being asymptomatic.
“We are still awaiting a few final results, but currently we have 73 positive cases of Covid-19 among the workforce.”
A spokesman for AS Green and Co, which specialises in growing beans, said its “hard-working” staff were the firm’s “priority” as it was supported by PHE and Herefordshire Council.
“We contacted PHE and we are working closely with them and Public Health at Herefordshire Council to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” the spokesman added.
A statement on the farm’s website said the site has been closed to all visitors, while no workers are permitted to leave.
“Our workforce and local community are our priority at this difficult time and we continue to follow the guidance of the relevant bodies to ensure that the spread of the virus is controlled and our workforce is supported,” it said.
“Public Health England advises that it is very unlikely Covid-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging so shoppers can remain confident buying British fruit and veg.”