“Food resilience teams” to prepare for Brexit

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Councils are being urged by food policy experts in a new report to set up “food resilience teams” to prepare for various Brexit scenarios.

The advice has been outlined in the recent document prepared by specialists at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH); City, University of London; and the University of Sussex.

The note which has been sent to every council in the UK suggests authorities should consider creating food resilience teams to make risk assessments of how different outcomes of Brexit might affect food provision and supply in their local areas.

The briefing — the latest in a series from the Food Research Collaboration — advises that councils will have a role to play as the local “voice and ears” to help limit the risk of social disorder, which has been brought on by food supply problems in the past.

The advice notice suggests food resilience teams should do the following.

  • Map existing food systems in their regions.

  • Conduct rapid assessments of where risks and potential disruptions lie.

  • Clarify the limits to stockpiling.

  • Bring together relevant professionals and expertise.

  • Be prepared to convey this information to the Government and public.

The advice also highlights local authorities’ responsibility for the enforcement of food safety and standards regulation, with a scope ranging from school meals to imported and exported products.

It adds that the Government’s guidance notes for a no-deal Brexit are “welcome but inadequate” and warns that local authorities have not been given enough advice.

According to the notice, every form of Brexit will affect the food system in some way, particularly a no-deal scenario.

Several food risks are highlighted, including price changes, reduced food availability, lower standards and safety, supply disruption, border delays, freight logistics and public disorder.

Last reviewed 4 December 2018

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