Twinings Owner Warns of Food Shortages After a No-Deal Brexit

(Bloomberg) -- The maker of Ryvita crackers and Twinings tea bags has warned of food shortages if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal.

Stockpiling additional goods can only protect the industry against minor hitches in the event of a negotiated Brexit, Associated British Foods Plc Finance Director John Bason said by phone. A no-deal outcome would result in “severe disruption and terrible consequences,” including the “real possibility of food shortages,” he said.

Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed the final vote on her Brexit divorce agreement until just 17 days before Britain is set to leave the EU, raising the stakes for a potential exit without a deal.

“A Brexit where there is no agreement would be very disruptive and people need to understand that and the effect it would have on food,” Bason said.

AB Foods, which also owns discount apparel chain Primark, has bought key items ahead of time to mitigate risk of any short-term disruption to the border, including food, packaging and machinery. The company on Monday maintained its outlook for the year, saying sales at Primark were 4 percent ahead of last year in the first half.

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