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No-deal Brexit will ‘cause food shortages worse than coronavirus panic buying’

Food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit will be worse than the empty shelves seen during the initial weeks of Covid-19, according to the Director of Food at the British Retail Consortium. Speaking to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on food supply, Andrew Opie said the empty shelves and shortages seen in March were mild compared to what could happen later this year if government negotiators cannot secure a deal with the EU in time. With the end of July the deadline for the Government to apply for an extension to the transition period – due to end on December 31st 2020 – concern is growing that a deal with the EU will not be agreed in time. Andrew Opie said he was particularly concerned about a shortage of fresh produce given the UK’s reliance imports, with 90% of lettuce, 80% of tomatoes and 70% of soft fruit shipped from Europe.

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