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Lettuce Shortage Hits Europe Due to Bad Weather

  • Associated Press

A sign warning of lettuce shortages is displayed in a supermarket in London, Feb. 3, 2017.

Europe is short of lettuce, broccoli and other vegetables due to bad weather, leading some supermarkets in Britain to start rationing produce.

A succession of droughts, floods and cold weather in southern European countries has hurt agricultural yields there, creating a drop in supply felt mainly by importing countries to the north.

Stores in Britain were rationing Friday the number of lettuces shoppers can buy, with some removing iceberg, sweet gem and romaine varieties from their online offerings. Similar shortages earlier affected courgettes, broccoli and cabbage.

Shoppers in Britain shared images of bare shelves under the hashtags #lettucecrisis and #courgettecrisis.

Analyst Rob Gregory of PlanetRetail posted a photo on Twitter of empty boxes in a Tesco supermarket. The picture showed a sign reading: "Due to continued weather problems in Spain, there is a shortage on Iceberg and other varied lettuce products. To protect the availability for all customers, we are limiting bulk purchases to three per person."

Gregory tweeted: "My local Tesco also affected by the lettuce and salad rationing. Not much there to ration though!"

British supermarket chain Asda said in a statement that, "Contrary to popular belief it seems the rain in Spain doesn't fall mainly on the plane and a run of unusually bad weather has resulted in availability issues on a small number of salad items and vegetables such as courgettes and aubergines."

Spain's federation of vegetable exporters, Fepex, said it was trying to keep up supply to European markets.

But even in Spain overall production of vegetables was 30 percent below normal levels, due to the bad weather over the past three months, said the group. Cold weather and snow in January also delayed new crops and made a full recovery of production levels unlikely until April, Fepex said.

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