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Friday, 3 February 2017
Vegetable crisis in the UK: Supermarkets rationing vegetables as shortage caused by floods, snow and storms across the Mediterranean hits hard
Supermarkets in the UK are struggling to provide vegetables to their customers because of the recent bad weather in Spain Italy and Greece.
It started last month with some supermarkets having problems stocking courgettes and spinach, while iceberg lettuce is now being rationed by some chains.
A combination of flooding, cold weather and poor light levels in southern Europe is said to have created the "perfect storm" of poor growing conditions.
During the winter months, Spain's south-eastern Murcia region supplies 80% of Europe's fresh produce. But after suffering its heaviest rainfall in 30 years, only 30% of Murcia's growing fields are useable.
This has coincided with a cold snap in Italy, which normally exports vegetables at this time of the year but is now having to import them.
The effects of shortages are particularly pronounced in Britain, which imports an estimated 50% of its vegetables and 90% of its fruit.
The Grocer magazine's fresh and chilled foods editor, Kevin White, told the BBC he could not recall the weather affecting supplies so severely, reports the BBC.
Meanwhile The Daily Mail reports: Supermarkets have started rationing vegetables amid a shortage caused by floods, snow and storms across the Mediterranean farming belt.
Tesco said: 'Due to bad weather conditions in Spain, we are experiencing a few availability issues, but are working with our suppliers to resolve them as quickly as possible.'
And Sainsbury's said: 'Severe weather has affected crops, but we are working with our suppliers to maintain supply for our customers.'
The problem has become so serious that British wholesalers have taken the unusual step of importing produce from California, despite the high cost of air freight.