The Government has said it will ‘not be necessary’ to stockpile food in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Defra made the claim in response to reports that the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) had demanded a meeting with Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab to discuss the implications of leaving the EU for the food industry.
Speculation about the possibility of food being stockpiled has been mounting since Mr Raab hinted it might have been taking place when giving evidence to a select committee last week.
Asked whether Ministers were considering stockpiling, he said: “It would be wrong to describe it as the Government doing the stockpiling.
“The idea we only get food imports into this country from one continent is not appropriate, but we will look at this issue in the round and make sure there are adequate food supplies.”
Mr Raab’s suggestion that industry may have been stockpiling was quickly slapped down by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which said it was ‘not a practical response’ to a no deal Brexit.
The BRC statement added: “Industry has not been approached by Government to begin planning for this.
“Retailers do not have the facilities to house stockpiled goods and in the case of fresh produce, it is simply not possible to do so.”
But now a Government spokesman has denied its no deal preparations include stockpiling food.
The spokesman said: “The UK has an excellent level of food security, built on access to a range of sources, including strong domestic production and imports from third countries. This will continue to be the case as we leave the EU.
“While we are making preparations for all eventualities as we leave the EU, it will not be necessary to stockpile food.
“The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry to prevent disruption and consumers will continue to have access to a range of different products.”