Coronavirus: How robust is our food chain?

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By BBC and BBC World Service. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Panic buying of food has become a feature of the Covid-19 outbreak around the world, stripping supermarket shelves of some items and prompting limits on the number of products customers are allowed to buy. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation says there could be global food shortages within weeks due to lockdowns and disruptions in areas like shipping and logistics. Governments across the planet have been keen to stress there is enough food to go around and they say supply chains are robust. So, in a globalised world in which much of the food we eat either comes from or is processed elsewhere, just how robust are they? As the number of people sickened by coronavirus increases, will retailers and their suppliers have enough staff to keep up with demand? What impact will national export restrictions have? As restaurants are forced to close and increased numbers of people cook at home, are we about to see a historic amount of food go to waste? And will the upheaval force some of us to return to a simpler - and more localised - food distribution model, even if it does mean giving up on year-round access to certain types of food?

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