To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 1 July 2008, Official Report, column 733W, on food supply, under what circumstances the Government would seek to access food stocks identified by his Department's database.
The food supply chain is robust due to the high degree of substitutability of food stuffs and the range of options available when one element of the supply chain is disrupted. This flexibility arises from a combination of domestic production and the multiplicity of trading and transport options that exist.
In the event of a disruption to the food supply, DEFRA would work closely with the food industry to deal with the situation. The information held in the database allows DEFRA to better represent the food industry in any discussions with other Government Departments during incidents which could impact on the industry. However, it is not possible to speculate in advance on the Government's future actions.