Fruit & veg shortages on supermarket shelves following Brexit port delays and staff absences 10 months ago

Fruit & veg shortages on supermarket shelves following Brexit port delays and staff absences

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove admitted that "significant additional disruption" could be expected

Shortages of fruit and veg in supermarkets are being reported, due to Brexit port delays, and Covid-related staff absences.

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Mail Online has reported that Tesco's website has listed lettuce, cauliflower packs, oranges, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries as "out of stock" in some areas, and Ocado listing prepared carrots, cauliflower and broccoli as unavailable.

Photos of gaps on supermarket shelves have also appeared online.

On Friday, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said that "significant additional disruption" could be expected this week, as the UK has finally ended the Brexit transition period and new checks come into place.

"It is the case that in the weeks ahead, we expect that there will be significant additional disruption - particularly on the Dover-Calais route."

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The UK left the EU at the end of January 2020, but entered a transition period until 31st December 2020. A last-minute deal was agreed on Christmas Eve.

Covid-19 related staff shortages are also thought to be contributing to the gaps on supermarket shelves, with many employees having to either take time off due to sickness, or shield if they are vulnerable.

It is not just supermarkets that are affected by staff shortages, with Mail Online reporting that food production plants being hit with the problem is an issue for the entire food industry.

Customers have also come under more pressure to ensure that they stick to Covid regulations whilst in supermarkets.

"We are concerned that, for example, in supermarkets we need to make sure people actually wear masks and follow the one-way rule in supermarkets," vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News.

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"And, of course, when they are at capacity - to operate safely, people wait outside supermarkets."

"The supermarkets have done a tremendous job and I want to complement and thank them all for the incredible work they've done - and also coming forward with offers of areas we can use for vaccination hubs and others.

"But, ultimately, the most important thing to do now is to make sure that actually enforcement - and of course the compliance with the rules - when people are going into supermarkets are being adhered to."