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Britain will experience shortages of certain foods in the event of a "disastrous" no-deal Brexit, with "serious disruption" expected for months, the country's food and drink lobby warned Wednesday.

The change in date for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union from the end of March to the end of October is also causing problems for the food industry as it relies more heavily on Europe for fresh food at this time of year.

Johnson, who took over as prime minister two weeks ago, has taken a hard line with the European Union, demanding that it show willingness to change the divorce deal it agreed with his predecessor before negotiations can restart to secure Britain's smooth departure from the bloc.

Ahead of the original Brexit deadline of March 29, supermarkets and retailers worked with suppliers to increase stocks of dried goods including pasta, bottled water and toilet roll.

A no-deal Brexit would disrupt some food supplies for a number of weeks and leave fruit and vegetables rotting in lorries heading for the United Kingdom, the industry's leading trade body has warned.

"Given that food very often is perishable and has a short shelf life, we expect that there will be some selective shortages of food in the weeks and months following no-deal Brexit", Rycroft said.

They've warned nevertheless that fresh fruit and greens, which have a brief shelf-life of only a few days, can not be saved and that customs checks at Britain's most important port of Dover might lead to delays for arrivals.

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One retailer told the BBC that October 31 "is about the worst day you can pick", as warehouse capacity is at 105% in November, versus 75-80% in March.

The FDF also warns that Britain needs 30 massive empty warehouses to store just a week's extra food supply. Many economists say a no-deal Brexit will trigger a recession and cause economic mayhem, with shortages of fresh food and other goods likely as customs checks snarl Britain's ports.

The UK food industry wants aspects of competition law to be set aside to allow firms to coordinate and direct supplies with each other in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Doing so is now illegal and companies which do engage with each other in such practices could be fined by the Competition and Markets Authority.

"The food sector is absolutely clear that a no-deal exit is a disastrous outcome for us, but we've never said that the country is going to starve", Tim Rycroft, corporate affairs director at the Food and Drink Federation, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Our Brexit Insider Facebook group is the best place for up-to-date news and analysis about Britain's departure from the European Union, direct from Business Insider's political reporters.

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