MPs will probe the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the food supply chain as disruption continues during lockdown.
In a teleconference between the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Efra) Select Committee and Defra Secretary George Eustice, both parties identified issues such as panic-buying in supermarkets, food supplies for the vulnerable and potential labour shortages in key areas, continued to threaten the supply chain.
It comes after recent weeks have seen the virus disrupt the food service sector, with consumers choosing to eat at home rather than out, placing severe pressure on retail supply operations and farm businesses.
Neil Parish, Efra committee chairman, said the pandemic had highlighted the importance of ‘resilience’ in the food supply chain but warned there were ‘still questions’ to be answered by Government.
He said: “The right strategies are needed to ensure the supply chains keep moving, from domestic farming and food imports to the delivery of food to those who need it the most.
“The impact of the pandemic on workers who keep us fed, from the field through factories to the checkout and doorstep delivery, has to be managed.”
Mr Parish added it was imperative that everyone had access to enough healthy food during this time, particularly those who were self-isolating or struggling to afford food.
The committee is now in the process of implementing strategies to mitigate potential risks and is seeking written evidence on the issues raised by May 1.
A summary of the conversation between the Select Committee and Mr Eustice can be found here.