Brexit could see food left ‘rotting at border’, Sainsbury’s boss warns

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According to Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s boss, if supply chains are disrupted by customs checks once Britain exits the European Union, food could be left spoiling at the border.

The supermarket’s chief executive noted that new restrictions on exports and imports of food and food products would raise costs and increase transport times, making it more difficult to get fresh items to customers.

“If you take our fresh produce supply chains, for example, we put things on a lorry in Spain and it will arrive in a distribution centre somewhere in England, and it won’t have gone through any border checks,” said Coupe.

“Anything that encumbers that has two effects: it adds cost, and it also has a detrimental effect on freshness – if you’re shipping fresh produce from a long distance, even a few hours of delay can make a material impact.”

Coupe stated that the retail industry would frequently make its voice heard if the preparation for March 2019’s Brexit continued with no clear solution regarding the issue of customs controls.

British Consortium, an industry body, warned that shoppers in Britain could experience higher prices and fewer choices unless the EU and Britain can agree how to manage issues including haulage, food safety, and border checks after Brexit.

Labour Party, the opposition, proposed retaining Britain in the single market and customs union after 2019 for a transitional to avoid damaging jobs and the economy.

PM May has called on legislators to back up laws to required to sever relations with the European Union.