The UK's leading trade associations representing the food and drink industry have offered the government their expertise in order the secure "the best possible outcome from Brexit" in an open letter to all MPs.
Signed by 26 bodies representing four million employees, including the Food and Drink Federation, the British Hospitality Association, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers and the British Beer & Pub Association, the letter said that uncertainty surrounded the UK's exit from the European Union, the future of domestic farming and fisheries production, and a looming skills gap, which "threaten the viability of our businesses".
It went on to say that abrupt changes to current EU regulations would have "consequences for our industry, its employees and for the choice and availability of food in this country".
As a result, the signatories have drawn up 10 priorities which they can work on in partnership with the government to "protect the UK's food security and deliver the jobs and growth the UK needs to thrive".
The priorities include the need to avoid a "cliff edge Brexit" by securing a transitional period to help prepare for a new relationship with the EU and an assurance that negotiations around the rights of EU workers and their families to remain in the UK are conducted swiftly.
The letter also urges the government to work in partnership with the food and drink industry to develop home-grown talent and consult with signatories ahead of any new migration scheme.
BHA warns government over post-Brexit hospitality workforce >>
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