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British supermarkets ration the sale of vegetables

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Before the shortage of product several chains have limited the purchases allowed per person.

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IceThe supply of European and Spanish vegetables has been reduced by the effect of the cold wave in large producing areas. / ArchiveSeveral supermarkets in the UK have limited the sale of vegetables per person and have even eliminated some products from their Internet sites due to the shortage of supplies from Europe, especially from Spain. The cold wave recorded earlier this year has affected European vegetable productions and the three main producing areas in Spain (Andalucía, Murcia and Valencia), thus reducing the Spanish supply by an average of 30%, as confirmed through the data provided by Fepex.

Bad weather and frost on the European continent have affected crops and consequently, exports. The storm has had a particularly serious effect on outdoor vegetable crops in the Spanish southeast, and it has seen crops being destroyed in Italy, Greece and other countries of the Mediterranean basin, so this has forced the United Kingdom to import crops from as far as the western coast of the United States or Egypt.

The most affected crops are courgette, lettuce, peppers, broccoli and cabbage, and numerous users of social networks have posted photos of empty shelves in British supermarkets.

In Tesco, the first supermarket in the country, a sign in front of empty boxes said last week: “Due to bad weather in Spain, there is a shortage of iceberg lettuce and other varieties. To ensure that there is supply for all customers, we are limiting the purchase to three per person.”

In Morrisons another sign warned customers that they could only buy two lettuces at a time and broccoli was limited to three packs per buyer, while at Sainsbury's customers reported on Twitter that the price of Iceberg lettuce had increased from 40p to 1.40 pounds (46 cents to 1.63 euros) over a period of a few months.

Spain usually supplies half of the European market with vegetables during the winter months, well ahead of other producing countries like Italy, Greece or Turkey. In statements to the press, the Spanish Federation of Associations of Producers Exporters of Fruits, Vegetables, Flowers and Plants (Fepex), has warned that the situation exists “for reasons beyond control” and may last until early April in the case of “outdoor grown leafy vegetables”, such as lettuce, endive or spinach.

In this context, spokespersons for Tesco and Morrisons have confirmed the supply shortage and ensure that they are working with suppliers to solve the problem.

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