A supermarket senior executive has said the company is considering rationing business buyers in the event of a no-deal Brexit amid fears retailers will be treated like wholesalers.
The executive, who spoke to BBC News on the condition of anonymity, said the company feared that operators struggling with their own supply chains could clear supermarket shelves, if a deal is not reached by 31 October.
The source said: “We would need to limit the amount restaurants or convenience stores, for example, that are short of stock could buy.
“We wouldn’t use the word rationing but that is effectively what it is. Limiting the volumes small businesses can purchase so that our retail customers get a chance to get what they need.”
Last week Shaun Allen, chief executive of Prestige Purchasing, warned that a no-deal Brexit could have have a catastrophic effect on UK food supply”.
A no-deal Brexit would see Britain fall back on to World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for imports from the European Union – particularly through the port of Dover. Not only would this make food items more expensive – it would also mean more checks would have to be carried out on items as they cross the border.
Experts have warned that if checks take just six seconds longer at the border, it is likely to have a dramatic impact on the UK, leading to food shortages for around six months.
A government spokesman said: “The UK will be leaving the EU on 31 October and our top priority is supporting consumers and businesses in their preparations for Brexit.
“We are working closely with the food industry to support preparations as we leave the EU.”