Turkey could be off your Christmas menu as a farming boss has issued a warning the UK could face a 'national shortage' in the run up to Christmas, brought on by a lack of labour following Brexit.

Kate Martin, of the Traditional Farm Fresh Turkey Association (TFTA), has suggested customers may want to be getting their orders in early as the shortage may take affect before Christmas.

The Manchester Evening News has reported the TFTA, who represents producers of high end, free-range turkeys, have said some poultry farms have already experienced five times more orders than at the same time last year.

According to Ms Martin, the shortage is most likely only going to affect supermarket shelves, and not smaller farms who use local farmers.

A farming boss has warned that the UK could face a national shortage of turkeys in the run up to Christmas.
A farming boss has warned that the UK could face a national shortage of turkeys in the run up to Christmas.

Mrs Martin told the PA news agency: “This year it’s looking like there is a national shortage of turkeys when we’re talking about supermarket shelves, rather than buying direct from your farm."

“It is the supermarket shelves that will be emptier on turkeys this year than they have been before, only because there have been less turkeys placed on the ground, only because the big processers know that they will not get them processed.”

The shortage could come from the lack of European labour that has been brought about due to Brexit.

On whether Brexit is to blame for the possible shortages, Mrs Martin said: “We’re small producers, we use local labour, but for the big processors it is 100% caused by a labour shortage.

“This situation with turkeys is caused by the fact that European labour is no longer available to us, and they are skilled workers who have been coming to us for years."

“People are now missing a whole host of their workforce that they have been training and investing in over the last however many years, and those workers are no longer available for us to use on a seasonal basis – they will go find work on mainland Europe instead.”

She added: “We’re an innovative industry and we will get through it but there are less turkeys to be had.”

The turkey shortage is the latest industry to be effected by the post-Brexit trading rules. Customers have also been warned about potential Christmas tree shortages, as well as higher prices as supply chains experience difficulties.

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