Ministers are to hold crisis talks with supermarket chiefs in a desperate bid to solve the fruit and veg crisis gripping Britain.
Food minister Mark Spencer has summoned bosses from all the major chains to find a way to get shelves fully stocked again with fears growing rationing could last into spring.
It comes a day after the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) warned that shortages of some fruit and vegetables could be “the tip of the iceberg”.
Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, aubergine, broccoli and raspberries are all hard to find in big shops with warnings apples and carrots will soon be in short supply.
Mr Spencer said: "I know families expect the fresh produce they need to be on the shelves when they go for their weekly shop.
"That is why I am calling in supermarket chiefs to get shelves stocked again and to outline how we can avoid a repeat of this."
Fruit and veg crisis: Supermarket shelves have been left bare because of the food shortages PA
The shortage has been caused by very poor weather conditions in Morocco and Spain.
Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda have all introduced limits on how much fruit and veg people can buy.
Even British turnips are now running out after Environment Secretary Therese Coffey suggested people buy them instead. There has been a run on the root veg, with desperate shoppers taking anything they can get.
Former environment secretary George Eustice said rising fuel costs were behind the problems, as supermarkets gambled on sourcing cheaper crops from farmers using 'primitive' techniques in Spain that had been hit by poor weather.
He told the BBC: "There isn't much different that the government could have done in recent months and there's nothing we can do immediately. We're going to have three or four weeks of this."
Jack Ward, chief executive of the British Growers Association (BGA), said supermarkets could also experience shortages of carrots, cabbage and cauliflower within weeks.
The BGA has also warned that the future of British apple and pear-growing is “on a knife edge”.
Paul Rowe, from Poupart Imports, which supplies independent retailers and UK wholesalers, said the shortages would last some time.
He said wholesale price dynamics are driving the shortages, adding that many growers have refused to unload their produce because UK supermarkets refuse to pay more.
Food shortages: Turnips are the latest vegetable to be in short supply PA
Growing a tomato cost 27 per cent more last year than it did in 2021, according to NFU research. It means a kilo of tomatoes which cost £2.09 in January 2020 now costs £2.96.
Nearly a fifth of adults said they had experienced shortages of essential food items in the past two weeks, according to the Office for National Statistics, up from 13 per cent a year ago.
Some food importers are blaming Brexit, insisting that higher costs and delays because of extra red tape are making matters worse.