Major suppliers and distributors for supermarkets have told the Government that Northern Ireland faces food shortages after the Brexit transition at the end of the year.
On Tuesday the European Commission said it takes "very seriously" concerns over the future supply of food in supermarkets here as tensions grow over the Northern Ireland Protocol with just 50 days until its introduction.
First Minister Arlene Foster has said the EU is not being reasonable to require checks on food coming into Northern Ireland from Britain it deems "at risk" of being moved into the Republic.
Supermarkets based in Britain have said the rules could lead to limits on the goods they stock here.
On Tuesday Tate & Lyle Sugars told customers, who include Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer, that, as things stand, it will struggle to deliver products locally in 2021.
"As a responsible supplier, we have been working with our NI customers on solutions that will allow us to continue supplying NI shoppers after January 1.
"To support that, we need the EU and UK to agree common sense rules that prioritise the NI consumer by recognising there is little risk from allowing existing trade to continue," the company said.
Associated British Foods on Tuesday told the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in a conference call that it could see problems getting fresh produce into Northern Ireland, ITV reported.
And Culina chief Steve Winwood also expressed concerns that food transported by his locally-owned logistics company, which often has a short shelf life, may not be moved here until the trading picture becomes clearer.
Under the protocol agreed by the UK and EU to prevent a hard border in Ireland, checks would be required on foods coming into Northern Ireland, including those being shipped in by supermarkets in Britain, to make sure they are not at risk of being moved south.
With just weeks until the protocol comes into force, regardless of whether or not a free trade agreement is concluded, Brussels said food coming in from Britain or further afield "will need to meet European Union rules on food safety".
Mrs Foster and Michelle O'Neill this week wrote to European Commission vice president Maros Sefcovic to say that it was unacceptable there were still uncertainties over how the protocol would operate, potentially affecting the supply of food.
On Tuesday the First Minister tweeted: "It is simply not credible nor in good faith with what the EU committed to on NI to maintain a position that well established supermarket chains such as Tesco, Iceland, M&S, Tesco or Sainsbury's cannot be trusted to send goods to NI for circulation in NI.
"These goods are sterling packaged by well established companies, there is zero risk that they would use a backdoor to the EU.
"It is simply not reasonable for the EU to insist these goods are treated as 'at risk', putting food and produce supplies to NI on January 1 at risk.
"I along with DFM have urgently asked the EU to consider the serious implications and impact on our essential food and produce supply chains from GB and immediately facilitate these goods to flow unfettered to the people of NI from the rest of the UK."
The protocol is at the heart of current talks between EU negotiator Michel Barnier and his UK counterpart Lord Frost.
The European Commission told the Belfast Telegraph it will reply to Mrs Foster and Mrs O'Neill's letter "shortly".
It said: "The protocol protects peace, stability and prosperity, North-South cooperation and the integrity of the EU single market. In order to do so, certain EU rules will continue to apply in NI after the end of the transition period. That means that goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK, and the rest of the world, will need to meet EU rules on food safety.
"These rules are there to protect the health and safety of consumers in the single market, including consumers in Northern Ireland. We are aware, of course, of the concerns raised regarding supermarkets and the import of food products into Northern Ireland. We take this issue very seriously - in the same way that we are taking very seriously every single issue regarding Northern Ireland.
"We are currently exploring all options available under EU law."
A UK government spokesperson added: "The UK and the EU have committed to an intensified process of engagement to resolve all outstanding issues with the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol which includes securing the flexibilities we need for trade from GB to NI. This is particularly important for supermarkets, where we have been clear specific solutions are required.
"We will continue to work closely with the Northern Ireland Executive as discussions continue with the EU through the Joint Committee process."