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Food: Shortages

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL13178, tabled on 28 January 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of warnings from UK supermarkets that (1) a no-deal Brexit could threaten UK food security, and (2) that there could be empty shelves at supermarkets due to the difficulties of importing fresh food.

Answered on

11 February 2019

The UK has a high degree of food security, built on access to a range of sources including strong domestic production and imports from other countries. This will continue to be the case whether we leave the EU with or without a deal.

Extensive work to prepare for a ‘no deal’ scenario has been under way for over two years. The Government has well established ways of working with the food industry on food supply chain issues and we are using these to support preparations for leaving the EU. This includes working with Defra’s long established Food Chain Emergency Liaison Group (FCELG), which allows Government and industry to work together to plan for and respond to any food supply disruption. This industry group’s membership is drawn from across the agri-food chain sector and includes other relevant government departments, Devolved Administrations and agencies.

Defra will continue to work closely with food industry stakeholders to continue to build shared understanding of the impacts of a ‘no deal’ scenario on food supply and contingency planning measures being taken by industry. Ongoing close collaboration that currently exists between Government and industry is essential to plan for, respond to, and mitigate any potential disruption.