The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that Brexit brings with it’s the risk of food shortages, epitomised by empty supermarket shelves.
The trade body said that European supply chains are critical to delivering everyday goods.
To that end, the BRC has called for major investment in ports and transport infrastructure, laying the groundwork for when Brexit takes place.
It added that agreements are also prudent to prevent foods being held up at the border due to extra checks.
You only have to see the trucks backing up the motorway from Folkestone when there are delays at the Channel Tunnel to see the impact of any delay in trucks crossing the UK border,” said David Lowe, partner at law firm Gowling WLG.
“Many of those trucks are carrying food and drink products that go on the shelves of our supermarkets.
“It’s not just the practical problems with delays (where do the trucks park at already congested ports such as Dover?), and the costs (drivers, customs agents and tariffs) but also the impact of fresh produce which will rot if delayed.
“And that’s before you get to the deeper barriers to trade once we are outside the EU – in food detailed regulations are crucial to maintain confidence in food safety.
“Once the UK leaves the EU it is inevitable that the UK and EU regulations will drift apart creating further barriers to trade – a product that complies with UK standards will need to be check to make sure it also complies with EU standards – this will mean at the very least more red tape.”