Food Supply: Coronavirus

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps are being taken by his Department to ensure food supply chains are safeguarded during the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Afzal Khan Afzal Khan Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to ensure food supply during the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

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. Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have intensified our discussions with the industry and together we are continuing to monitor the situation closely, taking the necessary steps to address issues wherever they arise.

Following a significant spike in consumer demand in early March, we have subsequently seen stock levels in supermarkets constantly and significantly improve. To support the food sector, the Government temporarily relaxed competition law and regulations relating to driver hours and delivery times so that the sector could work together to keep putting food on the shelves.

We welcome the actions that the industry is taking, including hiring more staff, and prioritising delivery slots and shopping times for those that need them most. We are grateful for the extensive support and positive collaboration that they have shown. We will continue this engagement with industry to keep food supply chains flowing and make sure people have the food and products they need.

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