FOOD shortages have been touted as a potential side-effect of Brexit since Britain voted to leave the EU.
But is this Project Fear doom and gloom or is there a point to be made about disruption to the UK food supply chain? Here’s the latest.
Alamy The Government wants to introduce a new work visa for seasonal fruit and vegetable pickers
Will there be food shortages after Brexit?
Fears about food shortages have been reported since the Brexit vote in 2016, but mainly in the event of a No Deal.
Some say that Britain leaving the EU without a divorce deal could drive up the cost of importing food from abroad.
The UK produces around 60 per cent of our own food – and 30 per cent comes from the EU.
And some experts say that curbing immigration could harm the homegrown food industry which relies heavily on foreign workers.
Seasonal fruit-and-veg pickers are often brought into the UK from abroad and many food factories hire from the EU.
Alamy A scheme will be capped at 2,500 workers per year to keep British crops on the shelves
As a result, the Government has put forward plans for a seasonal farm work visa, which will allow a maximum of 2,500 migrants a year to work on UK farms for six months.
The plan has been welcomed by the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), saying it was a “major victory”.
Whether Britain will actually see a food shortage when it leaves the EU in a few weeks remains to be seen, but it’s likelier in a No Deal Brexit, according to experts.
What happens if there’s a No-Deal Brexit?
Experts have blasted claims that Britain will run out of food and supermarket shelves go empty in the event of a No Deal Brexit.
Boffins at the Institute for Economic Affairs said that businesses who import and export around the world have already had two years’ notice to make adjustments for leaving the EU – and fear-mongering reports of no food were overblown.
This is despite Government documents warning that if the UK leaves the UK without a deal, it will trigger food shortages and a surge in supermarket prices.
Last summer, ministers drew up secret plans to stockpile processed food in case the UK leaves the EU without a deal.
What food should you stockpile?
If you’re still worried about any food shortages, keep in mind that there are plenty of British made staples such as flour, oats, lentils, sugar, salt, vinegar and mustard.
Popular foods from the EU that you might want to stockpile include olive oil, pepper, pasta and rice.
Spices, various types of beans and tinned fish will also be good to buy more of in advance.
If you’re concerned about fresh fruit and veg that isn’t produced in the UK then you could stock your freezer with extra frozen fruit and veg.
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Will farmers struggle to find seasonal workers?
Brexit-backing MP John Redwood insisted that British farmers need not worry about finding seasonal workers after Brexit.
Appearing on Victoria Derbyshire on September 20 2018, the Tory MP told a fruit grower that Brexit will give him control over his workforce.
He said: “Of course, you’ll have staff and we will control our own migration policies and they are already talking about a seasonal worker provision for exactly your kind of condition.
“But it will be your government and you will be able to persuade them of your needs and we will make our own decision.”
He added: “What’s wrong with taking back control and doing things in Britain’s interests, instead of the EU’s interest.”
Ecoegg discs show how they keep food fresher for longer
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