Welcome to Kehinde Popoola's website

Operation Yellowhammer: What it means for food supplies and prices

A woman walks past empty meat shelves in a supermarket in Madrid on June 10, 2008. The nationwide strike by truckers against fuel hikes is starting to have an effect on the population with shortages of petrol and food hitting the country. AFP PHOTO/PHILIPPE DESMAZES (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

Empty shelves could become a reality under a no-deal scenario (Picture: AFP)

Fresh food supply shortages, a hike in supermarket prices and panic buying ahead of Christmas could hit the UK if it leaves the EU without a deal.

Government papers Operation Yellowhammer has revealed the ‘worst case scenarios’ under a no-deal Brexit, and food supply chains could be one of the biggest concerns.

The five-page document says ‘vulnerable groups’ and ‘low-income’ families will be most affected by the price increases.

As the UK is set to leave the EU on October 31, with less than eight weeks until Christmas, supply chains will be put under pressure and ‘certain types of fresh food supply will decrease’, says the document.

Farmers will be hit hard during the busiest time of the year when the ‘UK growing season will have to come to an end’.

Empty supermarket shelves could become a reality, as there is a ‘risk that panic buying will cause or exacerbate food supply disruption’, it adds.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 06, 2018 Shoppers buy fruit and vegetables from J.J. Blair and Sons greengrocer's stall in Darlington Market in the town centre of Darlington, north-east England. - Preparedness in Britain for a no-deal Brexit remains "at a low level", with logjams at Channel ports threatening to impact drug and food supplies, according to government assessments released September 11, 2019. British MPs voted last week to force the government to publish the no-deal "Operation Yellowhammer" document, which also warns of "public disorder" in such a scenario. Britain's plan for no checks at the Irish border would likely "prove unsustainable due to significant economic, legal and biosecurity risks", it said, adding that it could lead to a black market developing in border communities, with dissident groups expected to capitalise. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP)OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images

Fresh food supplies could seriously decrease (Picture: AFP)

In total, the document outlines 20 national concerns, including rioting, medical supply shortages, delays at the border and a ‘significant’ increase in energy prices.

DEFRA wrote in the papers: ‘Certain types of fresh food supply will decrease. Critical dependencies for the food supply chain (such as key input ingredients, chemicals and packaging) may be in shorter supply.

‘In combination, these two factors will not cause an overall shortage of food in the UK but will reduce availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups.

‘The UK growing season will have come to an end and the Agri-food supply chain will be under increased pressure at the time of year, due to preparations for Christmas, which is the busiest time of year for food retailers.

‘Government will not be able to fully anticipate all potential impacts to the Agri-food chain. There is a risk that panic buying will cause or exacerbate food supply disruption’.



What does Operation Yellowhammer warn of?

  • Three months of disruption at Channel crossings
  • Two-and-a-half day delays for lorries entering the UK
  • Immigration delays for UK tourists heading to Europe
  • Rise in protests and public disorder
  • Disruption to fuel supplies
  • ‘Significant’ electricity price rises
  • ‘Severe extended delays’ to medicine supplies
  • Animal disease outbreaks
  • Reduction in supplies of fresh food
  • Supermarket price rises
  • Panic-buying
  • Lack of clean water due to failure in supply of chemicals
  • Breakdown in sharing of law enforcement data with EU countries
  • Gibraltar not prepared enough
  • Fishing wars between UK and EU vessels
  • Hard border in Ireland



Got a story for Metro.co.uk?

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk. For more stories like this, check our news page.

Have something to add? Share it in the comments.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *