UK Domino’s Pizza spent more than $8.5 million stockpiling imported ingredients, as they and the rest of the UK food industry anticipate that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit could cut-off the country’s supply to critical ingredients later this year.
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“Britain will experience shortages of some fresh foods for weeks or even months if a disorderly no-deal Brexit leaves perishable produce rotting in lorries at ports,” Britain's food and drink lobby said Wednesday.
Reuters reported that the industry - which employs 450,000 people in the United Kingdom - views Brexit as the biggest challenge since World War Two, eclipsing previous scares including the horsemeat scandal of 2013 and the mad cow disease outbreaks of the 1980s and 1990s.
Freshly-sworn-in Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to reach a Brexit deal in his tenure as Prime Minister, or he would lead his country to walk from the European Union by October 31 – even without a cleanly negotiated deal. His predecessor Theresa May was forced to resign when she could not reach an agreement.
CNN reported that McDonald’s, KFC, Pret-a-Manger and UK supermarkets like Tesco conferenced earlier this year to discuss preparations for a no-deal scenario through Christmas.
Domino’s, for example, imports its flour and cheese from within the UK, but its tomato sauce comes from Portugal, according to The Guardian. Other specialty toppings like its chicken and pineapple are also imported.
Medical suppliers are also anticipating losses. The British Department of Health and Social Care urged suppliers to prepare at least six weeks’ worth of medicine other health products in case they are not able to quickly supply those in need, in a statement released last month.
British food importers would be crippled in a ‘no-deal’ scenario because of the subsidies perishables and agriculture enjoy in the current economic structure. Currently the UK imports about 60 percent of its food. Experts cite concerns of price surges following a no-deal exit and expect the UK to be without fresh produce while they adjust.
``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,'' Food and Drink Federation's Chief Operating Officer Tim Rycroft said.