Calais crisis 'set to cause food shortages'

Imported goods fail to get through

Calais industrial action

British supermarkets could start running out of imported foods as the migrant crisis and strikes at Calais combine to cause transport chaos.

Striking MyFerryLink workers have been blocking access to the Channel Tunnel, already subject to closures thanks to the large number of migrants attempting to make it through.

As a result, supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables may be starting to run short - and prices could be set to rise.

According to a report in the Express, one of the first casualties is the cucumber - vital for Pimms during the Wimbledon fortnight.

"I always do my family shop at Lidl and I look out for special offers every week to make ends meet. On Saturday they were running an offer of cucumbers for 29p which I thought was fantastic as it's a staple for my kids," shopper Greg Sanderson tells the paper.

"Next to the offer was a sign saying 'limited supply due to Calais strike' and underneath was an empty box. I was outraged. They are ruining their own businesses and also ours and my kids have no cucumber - it's shocking."

Yesterday, a migrant died on a freight train, after scores more attempted to storm the tunnel. The repeated incidents have now prompted the Freight Transport Association (FTA) to write to David Cameron warning of disruption to supply chains as well as risks to drivers' health and safety.

"We have been calling on the both the British and French governments to intervene for some time, and are now asking the Prime Minister to give the matter his urgent priority, and to implement plans to alleviate the crisis," says FTA chief executive David Wells.

"As the disruption and delays continue on both sides of the Channel, the cost to the UK economy is running into hundreds of millions of pounds each week."

Around three quarters of all road freight coming in and out of the UK arrives via Dover and Calais. Now, though, closures are leading to the destruction of fresh foods, and drivers are refusing to do the UK run.

Meanwhile, the risk of contamination means that where migrants have been able to access lorries, food is frequently thrown away. According to the Fresh Produce Association, indeed, as much as £2 million-worth of produce is being binned each month.

Lidl is not the only supermarket to run out of cucumbers, with reports that Aldi and Asda have bare shelves too. However, things should improve, with the UK Cucumber Growers' Association having already doubled production in the hope of a hot, Pimms-filled summer.
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