Sainsbury’s warns of food shortages amidst border closures

Sainsbury’s has warned that closure of the French border could lead to food shortages.

Reports of a coronavirus strain that could be 70 per cent more transmissible in London have pushed European countries to close their borders to the UK yesterday.

Last night it was announced there would be a suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France.

The supermarket retailer said that if nothing changes, gaps may appear in some of its stores in the next few days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit, which are usually imported from the Continent at this time of year.

Sainsbury’s said that it hopes “the UK and French governments can come to a mutually agreeable solution that prioritises the immediate passage of produce and any other food at the ports.”

The British supermarket chain added that it is sourcing everything it can from the UK and said it was looking into alternative transport for products sourced from Europe.

In response to the suspension of accompanied freight traffic, Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), said: “Tonight’s suspension of accompanied freight traffic from the UK to France has the potential to cause serious disruption to UK Christmas fresh food supplies and exports of food and drink.

He added: “Continental truckers will not want to travel here if they have a real fear of getting marooned. The government must very urgently persuade the French government to exempt accompanied freight from its ban.”

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