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Supermarkets: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Jon Trickett Jon Trickett Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office), Shadow Lord President of the Council

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, with reference to the covid-19 outbreak, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people with specific dietary needs as a result of a medical condition can obtain the food they need from supermarkets.

Photo of Victoria Prentis Victoria Prentis The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The Government has well-established ways of working with the food industry during disruption to supply situations. We are aware of the additional availability issues faced by people who have particular dietary requirements and are working with the food industry to ensure that everybody is able to get the food that they need. We will continue to work closely with the industry over the coming days and months.

Our retailers already have highly resilient supply chains and they are working around the clock to adapt quickly to these changes in demands. Food supply into and across the UK is resilient.

To help industry respond to this unprecedented demand we have introduced new measures to keep food supply flowing. We have issued guidance to local authorities to allow extended delivery hours to supermarkets so that shelves can be filled up more quickly, and we have implemented extensions to drivers’ hours. We are also temporarily relaxing certain elements of competition law to ensure retailers are able to collaborate effectively in the national interest.

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