Do not stockpile food, UK minister urges country amid Brexit panic
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The UK's business minister, Alok Sharma, said people should not stockpile food as a no-deal Brexit looms. /AP

The UK's business minister, Alok Sharma, said people should not stockpile food as a no-deal Brexit looms. /AP


UK shoppers worrying about supplies amid Brexit uncertainty should not stockpile food, according to the UK's business minister, Alok Sharma. 

Sharma said he was confident food supplies would be maintained even if Britain leaves the Europea Union without a trade deal on January 1, 2021. 

"I'm very confident that actually the supply chains will still be in place." he told the UK's Sky News. "I would say to everyone – do your normal shopping as you would do and I think we'll find we're going to be absolutely fine." he said.



The UK and EU decided to "go the extra mile" in the coming days to try to reach a trade agreement, despite missing their latest deadline. Huge divides still remain between the two sides after many rounds of talks and several missed deadlines. 

According to UK government data, Britain supplied just over half (55 percent) of the food consumed within the country. The leading foreign suppliers of food consumed in the UK were countries from the EU (26 percent). Africa, Asia, North and South America each provided a 4 percent share of the food consumed in the UK.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said on Sunday that retailers were doing everything they could to prepare for all eventualities on January 1. However, the main impact of a no-deal Brexit  would be on imported fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long periods by either retailers or consumers.



The BRC warned of higher prices if there were no deal. Tesco, Britain's biggest supermarket group, has said consumers should expect price increases of between 3 and 5 percent.

But Sharma shrugged off the figure, saying during a BBC interview that the impact would be less. "I think we are talking less than 2 percent in terms of a potential impact. Obviously there will be certain products where it may be a little bit more," he said.

Source(s): Reuters

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