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No-deal Brexit may affect British Christmas dinner

A traditional British Christmas dinner commonly consists of roast turkey, roast potatoes, parsnips and carrots, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, cranberry sauce and pigs in blankets. Here's how a no-deal Brexit could influence these dishes. Items, grown in the UK won't be affected, but those that are imported will become more costly as they will be subject to tariffs and other expensive trade barriers.

Of course, parsnips and carrots are grown in abundance in the UK. They are available throughout most of the year and are rarely imported from abroad. So even a Brexit as hard as a raw parsnip is unlikely to affect this popular Christmas side dish.

Also, people with the Brussels sprouts-hating TAS2R38 gene are out of luck. Brussels sprouts are so abundant in the UK that they are actually exported around the world .

Although the UK is a major potato producer, some potatoes and potato products still get imported to meet UK demand. This mainly applies to frozen or processed potato products such as frozen fries. Due to a large harvest in 2016-17, the UK is expected to be a net exporter of fresh potatoes in 2017-18. Fresh potato imports have been predominantly from EU countries, but traditional suppliers such as France appear to have found other markets. UK fresh potato exports are predominantly to the EU (98%) .

Cranberries provide a splash of colour at the Christmas table. They also make a good option for retaliatory tariffs against the US, the world's largest cranberry producer. The EU took more than 50% of US cranberry exports in 2018, with the UK leading the way. The UK does have its own cranberries. Wild harvesting used to take place in Scotland but, due to habitat loss, this is no longer done. As a consequence, the cranberries bought in UK stores are harvested in North America and eastern Europe.


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