// Sainsbury’s warns of food shortages if freight chaos is not solved within days
// The grocer said there would be shortages on products including lettuce, salad leaves and cauliflowers
// France has not banned lorries from travelling to UK but concerns are that hauliers won’t enter UK if they cannot return home
Sainsbury’s has warned that food may begin to disappear from its shelves within days after France’s ban on freight from the UK.
The grocer said there would be shortages on products including lettuce, salad leaves and cauliflowers if transport ties with France are not restored immediately.
Despite the warning, Sainsbury’s ensured it had “plenty” of products needed for “the Great British Christmas lunch”.
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The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) said that fresh food supplies face “serious disruption” over Christmas.
France has not banned lorries from travelling into the UK but concerns have risen that hauliers will not want to enter the country if they cannot return home.
“We are sourcing everything we can from the UK and looking into alternative transport for product sourced from Europe,” Sainsbury’s said.
“If nothing changes, we will start to see gaps over the coming days on lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflowers, broccoli and citrus fruit – all of which are imported from the Continent at this time of year.
“We hope 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.”
BRC food and sustainability director Andrew Opie said the situation “poses difficulties for UK capacity to import and export key goods during the busy Christmas period”.
“While goods can enter from France, few haulage firms will be willing to send trucks and drivers across to the UK without a guarantee they can return to the EU in a timely manner,” he said.
“This is a key supply route for fresh produce at this time of year: the channel crossings see 10,000 trucks passing daily during peak periods such as in the run-up to Christmas.
“We urge the UK government and the EU to find a pragmatic solution to this as soon as possible, to prevent disruption for consumers.
“Retailers have stocked up on goods ahead of Christmas which should prevent immediate problems.
“However, any prolonged closure of the French border would be a problem as the UK enters the final weeks before the transition ends on 31 December.”