Based on predictions from experts in the food supply and distribution business, including the National Farmers Union, Road Haulage Industry, Food and Drink Federation, British Retail Consortium, all major supermarket chains, plus government and academic predictions, we understand there will be shortages for an unknown period in the event of a no-deal Brexit, but it will be difficult to predict where those shortages will occur .
According to the details leaked in full of the Operation Yellowhammer plan, even the Government believes the experts that there will be major disruption to all our supply lines if we leave the EU with no deal and is making contingency plans for these risks which include civil unrest linked to food shortages.
Many worried families with small children and older or vulnerable people are already preparing. The risk of short or and fruit could be damaging to their health, in a similar way that there were nutritional deficiencies during the Second World war in the UK, with scurvy being particularly common.
The water purification industry has warned that the chemicals needed to purify our drinking water may be in short supply leading to a need for rationing. In countries where regular water shortages occur, such as Cyprus, this is usually achieved by turning off mains supply to areas on a rolling basis. For example, Lache could be stopped supply between 9am to 12, and Blacon between 12 and 3pm on some days in order to ease pressure on demand. In such circumstances, bottled water would be a wise item to stock up on.
Unfortunately, there is no way that the timescale of shortages can be predicted. An interim agreement would have to be requested by government, but permanent arrangements will rely on a deal being completed with our largest suppliers that are mainly in EU countries. Based on estimates from experienced trade negotiators this can be some years.
If you intend to lay in some extra supplies given the increasing risk of no-deal, store your items in a cool, dry place free from any possibility of attack by vermin. Large plastic storage boxes are appropriate containers. Outside a heated home is most suitable, but you must ensure that the stockpile is always above freezing point as freezing may lead to a deterioration or ruined foods. An outhouse or shed would be a good storage situation, but security would need to be thought through.
Household goods such as toilet rolls and cleaning products may also be affected.
In case of hospitals having problems coping, especially with staff shortages, a full first aid kit in the house would also be useful.