"No tomatoes? Let's eat turnips," says British minister in response to shortages

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Britons struggling to find tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers because of shortages that could last another month might consider buying turnips instead, the country's food supply minister said on Thursday.

Britain's largest supermarket group Tesco followed rivals Asda, Morrisons and Aldi in imposing per-customer limits on the purchase of vegetables for salads, after crop problems in southern Europe and northern Africa reduced supplies.

The shortage has been exacerbated by high energy costs, which have reduced output from greenhouses of Britain and the Netherlands.

Therese Coffey, Minister for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said Britons might eat more depending on the season, although she was aware that consumers had become used to supermarkets guarantee the availability of almost all products throughout the year.

"It is important that we value the specialties that we have in this country," he said in Parliament.

“A lot of people would be eating turnips Right now, instead of necessarily thinking about lettuce and tomatoeshe said, referring to the root vegetables traditionally available in Britain at this time of year.

Coffey anticipated that the shortage it could last up to a month.

“My officials believe, after speaking with the retailers in the sector, that the situation will last between two and four more weeks. It is important that we make sure that we have options catering alternatives," he said.

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