You should eat turnips to ease supermarket shortages, environment secretary says

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey speaking during the National Farmers' Union Conference at the ICC, Birmingham. Picture date: Wednesday February 22, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story ENVIRONMENT NFU. Photo credit should read: Jacob King/PA Wire

BRITS should eat turnips instead of tomatoes while supermarkets are low on stock, a minister suggested today.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey told MPs the public should “cherish the specialisms that we have in this country” and turn to the turnip.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey has suggested Brits should eat turnips while there’s a shortage of tomatoes

Due to a shortage of stock, fruit and veg sales have been limited in major supermarket chains across the UK, including Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Morrisons.

The government said low supply is down to bad weather in Europe and Africa.

During the winter around 95% of tomatoes and 90% of lettuce are exported from Spain and North Africa.

Thankfully, the British Retail Consortium predicts shortages will only last two to four weeks.

Today Ms Coffey told MPs on the Commons Environment and Food Committee a “lot of people would be eating turnips right now”.

And in the Commons chamber she added: “It is important that we try and make sure that we get alternative sourcing options.

“That is why the department has already been in discussion with the retailers.

“It is why there will be further discussions led by ministers as well, so that we can try and get over this and try and avoid similar situations in the future.

“Even if we cannot control the weather it is important that we try and make sure the supply continues to not be frustrated in quite the way it has been due to these unusual weather incidents.”

Shadow Environment Secretary Jim McMahon responded: “There is genuine public concern about the availability of food, and as the secretary responsible for our food security – and let’s bear in mind food security is national security – this is absolutely mission-critical.”

In an effort to avoid panic-buying, on Monday Asda announced a limit of three items for tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, salad, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries.

At Morrisons stores, there is a cap of two items a person on tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and peppers.

In recent days, social media has been flooded with pictures of empty fruit and veg supermarket shelves.

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