Supermarkets have started to lift restrictions on buying fresh fruit and vegetables as the supply chain issues that led to widespread shortages begin to ease.

Lidl has become the latest supermarket to end the limits on how much fruit and vegetables customers can buy, and has committed to lift all restrictions by Monday.

The news comes after Asda confirmed it had removed limits of three on cucumbers, lettuce, salad bags, broccoli, cauliflower and raspberries. However, restrictions remain in place for tomatoes and peppers. The supermarket said the supply of tomatoes was expected to return to normal within the next couple of weeks.

Morrisons has also lifted restrictions on cucumbers, but is still limiting sales of tomatoes, lettuces and peppers to two per person.

Shoppers started noticing shortages of tomatoes and other salad items towards the end of February, with supermarkets blaming a spell of bad weather in Spain and Morocco.

Farmers based in the UK have said that rising energy bills have also contributed to the shortages, after growers based in Britain and the Netherlands decided not to plant vegetables that required heated greenhouses over the winter due to rising electricity costs.

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As a result, supermarkets have become more reliant on food from Spain and northern Africa and more exposed to supply chain issues there, they said.

The shortages led to other major supermarkets, including Tesco and Aldi, introducing rationing.

Ministers have been criticised for their handling of the issue, with Thérèse Coffey, the Environment Secretary, coming under fire when she suggested Britons should eat more turnips instead of relying on imported food.

The National Farmers’ Union has warned that the recent shortages are “the tip of the iceberg”, saying that a reliance on imports has left the UK vulnerable to “shock weather events”.

British farmers have warned that we are likely to see shortages of other products this year, including potatoes and onions.

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