UK food industry demands government action on CO2 shortage

LONDON, Sept. 18 (Reuters) – The UK food industry has called on the government to subsidize carbon dioxide (CO2) production amid soaring gas prices or risking the collapse of the country’s meat industries .

A surge in gas prices has forced two UK fertilizer factories to close, depriving food producers of the CO2 byproduct used to stun animals before slaughter and vacuum-pack food to extend shelf life. Read more

The CO2 shortage, which is also used to spice up beer, cider and soft drinks, comes at a terrible time for the food industry, which is already facing an acute shortage of truck drivers and the impact Brexit and COVID-19. .

Nick Allen of the British Meat Processors Association said on Saturday the pork industry was two weeks away from reaching tampons, while the British Poultry Council said its members were on a razor’s edge as suppliers could not guarantee deliveries that up to 24 hours. hours in advance.

Business Minister Kwasi Kwarteng was due to meet with the heads of the UK’s largest energy suppliers and operators on Saturday to discuss the situation. He said he did not expect supply emergencies this year due to a wide range of sources.

However, the food industry has said further support is needed.

“Doing nothing is not an option,” Allen told Reuters, adding that given the exceptional circumstances, the government had to either subsidize the power supply to maintain fertilizer production or source CO2. elsewhere.

British Poultry Council chairman Richard Griffiths said he was working with the government to assess stock levels and implement contingency plans, but warned that disruption of the food supply could become a problem national security.

If slaughterhouses ran out of CO2, pigs and chickens would be left on farms, creating additional problems with animal welfare, food supply and food waste, he said, adding: “We hope that this can be avoided with swift government action. “

A spokesperson said the government was in close contact with the food and agricultural industries to help them manage.

Reporting by Kate Holton; Editing by Alexander Smith

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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