Food Supply

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 18th September 2018.

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Photo of Lord Taylor of Warwick Lord Taylor of Warwick Non-affiliated

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the UK will be self-sufficient in food ingredients after Brexit; and if not, what plans they have, if any, for stockpiling within the UK food and drink industry.

Photo of Lord Gardiner of Kimble Lord Gardiner of Kimble The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The UK has a high degree of food security, built on access to a range of sources including strong domestic production and imports from third countries.

The UK’s current production to supply ratio is 60% for all food and 75% for indigenous-type foods. This has remained steady over the last decade and is not low in the context of the past 150 years.

Self-sufficiency is not in itself an indicator of food security. The UK has historically been a net importer of food and sources from a diverse range of stable countries and this will continue once we leave the EU. Achieving increased self-sufficiency in indigenous products would not necessarily insulate us from shocks to the system, for example, weather and disease can affect the harvests and yields.

While we are making sensible preparations for all eventualities as we leave the EU, there are no plans to stockpile food. The government has well established ways of working with the food industry on food supply chain issues.

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