Sainsbury's boss's Brexit warning: Food could rot at border queues

Lynsey Barber
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Extra controls at borders are bad for business (Source: Getty)

The boss of one of Britain's top supermarkets has issued a stark warning about Britain's future borders after Brexit and the impact it will have on the nation's food supply.

Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury's, has said fresh food could end up rotting as it sits at borders waiting to be delivered if there is additional red tape after the UK leaves Europe.

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There are currently no checks when food is being transported through the supply chain across Europe.

“The UK sources roughly a third of its food from the European Union and food is by far and away the UK’s largest export," he said, speaking to Press Association.

“If you take our fresh produce supply chains, for example, we put things on a lorry in Spain and it will arrive in a distribution centre somewhere in England, and it won’t have gone through any border checks.

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“Anything that encumbers that has two effects: it adds cost, and it also has a detrimental effect on freshness – if you’re shipping fresh produce from a long distance, even a few hours of delay can make a material impact.”

He said Westminster was failing to fully recognise the potential impact on supply chains and any disruption would be detrimental to the UK's shoppers and farmers.

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