Brexit Food

“There will be some shortages”

Written by SK Ashby

It remains to be seen if Britain will crash out of the European Union (EU) in a hard, no-deal "Brexit" that ends freedom of movement of goods and people between the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe, but if that happens there could be shortages of fresh food.

The Food and Drink Federation, the largest trade group in Britain representing over 7,000 businesses, is warning that a hard Brexit will lead to food spoiling in warehouses and ports at a time of the year when Britain is most reliant on foreign goods.

“We’re not going to starve but there will be shortages of fresh food and some specialist ingredients. It’s going to be a little bit unpredictable,” the Food and Drink Federation’s Chief Operating Officer Tim Rycroft told Reuters.

“Given that food very often is perishable and has a short shelf life, we expect that there will be some selective shortages of food in the weeks and months following no-deal Brexit,” Rycroft said. “There will be some shortages and price rises.” [...]

As winter approaches, the United Kingdom becomes more dependent on imported food so a Halloween no-deal Brexit is potentially more disruptive.

Britain imports around 60 percent of its food by the beginning of November - just the time that delays caused by a no-deal Brexit could be clogging up ports and motorways, Rycroft said.

The fact that a hard Brexit will dramatically raise prices on everything else ahead of the holidays is a big deal, but not as big as, say, running out of fruits and vegetables.

Merry fucking Charles Dickens Christmas indeed.

The trade group is also warning that the logistical challenges of a hard Brexit, including losses from spoilage, could cost the industry up to 100 million pounds per week. You know, semi-permanently.