Borough Market stockpiling cheese over fears of a no deal Brexit

Josh Salisbury (16 December, 2020)

"It buys us some time because there's going to be confusion at the ports," says its managing director

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Borough Market traders are stockpiling cheese amid a fear of no-deal Brexit, according to its boss.

Darren Henaghan, the managing director of the market, said traders would be severely impacted by any disruption on the border because they both import and export food.

The government is locked into last-ditch talks with the European Union to secure a deal by December 31, raising the prospect of no agreement being struck.

Mr Henaghan told LBC News that the market had already begun hoarding cheese, pallets of charcuterie, flour and olive oil.

“People are bringing things in early in anticipation that something’s going to happen which is going to make it more difficult,” he said.

“It buys us some time because there’s going to be confusion at the ports, and things are going to get blocked.”

Some traders export beef and British cheese into Europe, he said, while others import items such as mozzarella and parma ham from European countries.

He warned that there might be an impact on prices at the market as a result of no deal, “because those tariffs will need to be swallowed by the trader or they will be passed onto the traders.”

“At the moment we’re stockpiling, we’ve got pallets of everything we can from Europe,” he said.

“What we don’t want is some burrata, some very, very valuable but also delicate product like soft Italian cheese, sitting in a queue in Calais cooking nicely in the back of the van, because by the time it gets here there would be no point bringing it through.”

He added that during the week it has become very quiet during the week. “The impact of Covid has been particularly profound,” he said. “Earlier in the week it’s very quiet, but at the weekend it gets busy.”

He added: “But it’s constantly exhausting … it’s been a very difficult year for us.”

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