Food security is being threatened by the COVID-19 pandemic and leaving the EU without a good deal this year could "pose potentially greater challenges", a new cross-party report from members of the environment, food and rural affairs (EFRA) select committee has warned.
The report suggests the government urgently appoints a new 'Minister for Food Security' to address these issues, as well as conducting an assessment of Britain’s dependence on multi-national, just-in-time supply chains and how that impacts its food security.
Commenting, Best for Britain CEO Naomi Smith said:
"Our trading relationship as part of the EU allowed high-quality food to come into the UK tariff-free. Now we will have to pay more for European goods while being asked to swallow low-quality cheap imports from the US.
"Both of these issues create challenges for the UK's food security, which is about ensuring people are fed with affordable and good quality food.
"While people are aware about the threat of chlorinated chicken, it's less well know that basic food items like tinned tomatoes, olive oil, beans, pasta and pulses face now face import taxes. Pasta, for example, is a staple food, with around 343, 200 tonnes brought into the UK each year. If the new tariff regime creates a 6% tariff, the average price of a packet of pasta will rise from 53p to 65p. Over the course of a year, that’s an increase of more than £20 million for UK consumers."