Britain’s second-largest supermarket has warned of gaps on its shelves within days after France banned shipping from the United Kingdom.
Sainsbury said there would be a shortage of products including lettuce, salad leaves and cauliflower if transportation ties with the continent were not quickly restored.
However, the supermarket said it has “plenty” of products for the “Great British Christmas Brunch”.
Her warning echoed a statement from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which said fresh food supplies were facing “serious disruption” over Christmas.
France has not banned trucks from traveling to Britain, but the concern is that transport companies will not want to enter the country if they are not able to return home.
“All the products for the Great British Christmas Brunch are already in the country and we have a lot of them,” Sainsbury said.
“We are also supplying everything we can from the UK and looking for alternative modes of transportation for products sourced from Europe.
“If nothing changes, we will start to see gaps in the coming days in lettuce, some salad leaves, cauliflower, cauliflower and citrus fruits – all imported from the continent at this time of year.
“We hope that the British and French governments will be able to find a mutually acceptable solution that gives priority to the immediate passage of products and any other foodstuffs at the ports.”
Ian Wright, chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracy, said Sunday evening Prohibition of freight traffic From the UK to France “has the potential to seriously disrupt the supply of fresh Christmas food in the UK – and the export of food and drinks in the UK”.
“Truckers at Continental would not want to travel here if they had a real fear of falling.
“The government must urgently convince the French government to exempt associated shipping from its ban.”
British Retail Consortium Food and Sustainability Director Andrew Obey said the situation “is imposing difficulties on the UK’s ability to import and export major commodities during the busy Christmas period”.
“While goods could enter from France, few transport companies would be willing to send trucks and drivers across the UK without ensuring that they can return to the European Union in time,” he said.
“This is a major supply route for fresh produce at this time of year: Canal crossings see 10,000 trucks pass daily during peak periods such as the lead-up to Christmas.
“We are urging the UK government and the European Union to find a workable solution to this as soon as possible, to prevent consumer disruption.
“Retailers stocked merchandise before Christmas which should prevent immediate problems.
“However, any prolonged closure of the French border will be problematic as the UK enters the final weeks before the transition period ends on December 31.”
The UK logistics company – formerly known as the Freight Transport Association – said it is “extremely concerned about the welfare of drivers traveling from the UK to France at this time and is urgently seeking more information for our members”.
“The health and safety of the driver is our main concern, and it is imperative to continue to recognize them as key workers and allow them to be tested, if necessary, as a priority to ensure the continued movement of goods to and from France,” the organization said.
“Shoppers should not be alarmed about buying – retailers will do their best to ensure there is stock within the system, including fresh produce, and it is important to remember that incoming traffic can still reach the UK.
“We maintain close liaison with the UK government to ensure fresh produce is available throughout the Christmas and New Year period.”