Why Brits Fear There Will Be No Bacon After Brexit

Brown sauce on a bacon breakfast bap at Cheltenham racecourse on March 12, 2014 in Cheltenham, England.
Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

There is much talk about what Brexit could mean for citizens of Great Britain, and particularly a no-deal Brexit.

The Telegraph has suggested that one thing that Brits would have to live without is bacon, a critical ingredient of the quintessential morning breakfast fry-up. If October 31 brings a no-deal Brexit, there could be a shortage of not just bacon but also tomatoes and mushrooms. But Ben Wright of Telegraph says there is an upside, in that there is actually a sausage surplus in the U.K. which can sub in for the rashers until a deal can be fixed.

A no-deal Brexit would interrupt the food supply chains, challenging grocers to thoroughly stock their shelves and making it very difficult to provide fresh produce, including fruit, vegetables, and herbs for shoppers.

British grocer Sainsbury’s warns that Brexit could throw a serious wrench into the industry. Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe explains that what happens at the end of October could affect the holidays.

“The reality is, a no-deal Brexit, with no formal arrangements in place, would be very disruptive to our business and it would potentially be disruptive for people’s Christmas. You are putting a lot of risk on our supply chains, not just on food, but other products that we would be stock-building for Christmas.”

Former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King told BBC Radio Four earlier this week that anything other than a “silky smooth” situation at the borders will lead to trouble, and have an impact on the availability of all food, but especially fresh food.

HuffPost UK states that in terms of bacon, the issue is not a lack of pigs in Great Britain because there are plenty of pig farmers in the U.K. But the pork export market is “worth around £200 million a year” to the country based on what it sends to mainland Europe.

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Ed Barker, senior policy adviser of the National Pig Association, says the potential loss of the European market would devastate the industry.

“Losing the European export market overnight would be a significant challenge, and would have a knock-on impact on producers and the way in which we can provide products like bacon and sausages.”

But it won’t just be pork products which will be rocked on Halloween with a no-deal Brexit. Liz Truss, now Trade Secretary and formerly chief secretary to the Treasury, believes that the dairy industry, and particularly cheese will be harmed, saying that at this time, for example, 98% of cheddar cheese in the U.K. originates in mainland Europe.