No-deal chaos: Supermarkets told to ‘stockpile food’ by UK officials amid shortages fears

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UK stores have been told to stockpile food in anticipation of shortages due to a no-deal Brexit. Boris Johnson and Ursula von der Leyen agreed on Sunday to continue with trade negotiations. However, UK ministers have hinted the chances of a deal are slim.

A senior consultant for one of the UK’s big supermarkets told The Sunday Times said: “There was a conversation a week ago when ministers said to prepare for no-deal.

“This weekend the message is that it’s no-deal.”

The consultant added: “Supermarkets and ministers are hugely worried about panic-buying.

“They saw what happened over Covid when people started hoarding toilet rolls.

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“They know how quickly it can go wrong.”

Supplies of fresh vegetables could be the worst hit if tariffs were imposed on goods in the event of a no-deal.

The predicted shortages could last for at least three months.

The director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retailers and suppliers are doing everything they can to reduce disruption for consumers.

“This includes increasing the stock of non-perishable items and looking at alternative supply routes.

“The main impact of Brexit will be on imported fresh produce.

“Fresh fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long periods by either retailers or consumers will be hit.”

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the UK has “enough diversity of supply” of medicines in the case of a no-deal.

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show about the supplies of medicines, he said: “Well of course, with things like vaccines and more generally medical supplies the NHS and DHSC, Department of Health and Social Care, already have a widespread programme of stockpiling and security of supply.

“So I actually think, you know, there may be shifts, but we’ve got enough diversity of supply.”

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