Scottish food producers with goods stuck in Kent are set for a "black Christmas", an industry chief has said.

Thousands of lorries are stranded at the Channel after France banned entry when a new, more infectious strain of coronavirus was found in the UK.

A deal has been struck with the French government to allow freight through, with drivers being tested before crossing.

However, Food and Drink Federation Scotland (FDFS) chief executive David Thomson said clearing the backlog will take days, with some produce - seafood in particular - being ruined by the wait.

READ MORE: Drivers clash with police in Dover as lorries are further delayed

He told the BBC: "For those people who export fresh and perishable goods, particularly seafood and salmon in Scotland, it's been an absolutely disastrous few days and it will lead to a black Christmas for those businesses.

"The deal will be far too late for many people who are delivering perishable goods to the continent.

"It's too late now to get to customers before Christmas."

Companies have told the FDFS that the loss of Christmas sales may spell the end of their operation, Mr Thomson said.

"We've heard of companies that are saying this is the final straw for them and that they will not be able to deal with the losses," he said.

"People have to pay farmers and fishermen, people have to deal with the customers they've let down and they will not make the money that they would do in what is of course the most lucrative few days of the year for most food businesses in the lead up to Christmas.

"Many, many businesses are going to have a very difficult few days trying to work out if they continue."

Despite worries over exports, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Tuesday she has no concerns about shortages of food in Scotland because of the delays - a point Mr Thomson agreed with.

Addressing MSPs, she said: "We have no immediate concerns about food supplies. Supermarkets are well stocked. And so there is absolutely no need for anyone to buy more than planned."

Mr Thomson echoed the First Minister's statement and said he is "not concerned in the short-term", but he added some fresh vegetables which are out of season may see some delay, but the end of the backlog at the border will help relieve pressure on the supply chain.

Ms Sturgeon has called for perishable goods to be prioritised as lorries get moving again in Kent.

She said on Twitter on Tuesday night: "We still await detail of the agreement, but if freight starts moving tomorrow - as we must hope it will - the plan to prioritise perishable produce such as seafood should be activated immediately."

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