Brexit a Bigger Threat to U.K. Food Supplies Than Virus, MPs Say
(Bloomberg) -- A disorderly break with the European Union at the end of the year poses a bigger threat to Britain’s food supplies than the coronavirus pandemic that saw supermarket shelves emptied, a Parliamentary committee warned.
In a report published on Thursday, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee called on Boris Johnson’s government to complete an urgent review of the food industry’s resilience to shocks like Brexit and climate change. The panel singled out the importation of produce from overseas on a just-in-time basis as a particular concern.
“The government cannot afford to be complacent,” the report said. “It should provide reassurances that food supply disruptions have been factored into contingency planning for the end of the transition period.”
The fragility of the U.K.’s food supply chain was exposed in March as the coronavirus struck Britain, leaving supermarkets struggling to replenish stocks.
Britain imports almost a third of its food from the EU, and its dependence on fruit and vegetables from the bloc is even greater. That trade is at risk of being disrupted as customs checks are reintroduced at the end of the post-Brexit transition period on Dec. 31.
©2020 Bloomberg L.P.