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Food Supply: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 38523, tabled on 21 April 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government is taking with the food retail sector to ensure continuity of food supply.

Answered on

1 May 2020

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. The Government has regular engagement across the industry who continue to monitor the situation closely, taking the necessary steps to address issues where they arise.

Following a significant spike in consumer demand, we have now seen stock levels in supermarkets improve. To support the food sector, the Government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

We welcome the actions that industry is taking, including hiring more staff, and prioritising delivery slots and shopping times for those that need them most. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that the industry has shown. We will continue these conversations to keep food supply chains flowing and make sure people have the food and products they need.

Thanks to rapidly increasing testing capacity, the government has expanded eligibility to all essential workers with symptoms of coronavirus, including those working in the food and drink industry.