According to reports, the UK is preparing itself for a severe CO2 gas shortage affecting the supply of beer, fizzy drinks and meat.
Supermarket shelves and restaurants are expected to be affected this week as gas plays a key role in the production of carbonated drinks and meat processing.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was on Thursday warned of shortages this week due to the closure of two major fertilizer plants.
The government said it is closely watching the situation, adding that the country has access to CO2 beyond the plants.
A spokesperson said: “We are monitoring the situation closely, and are in regular contact with the Food and Agriculture Organization and industry, to help them manage the current situation.
“The UK benefits from access to highly diverse sources of gas supply to ensure that homes, businesses and heavy industry get the energy they need at reasonable prices.”
CF Industries Holdings on Thursday closed two of its plants at Billingham in Stockton-on-Tees and the Inns in Cheshire, both of which are estimated to account for up to 60 per cent of the UK’s CO2 supply.
It said it was halting production because of rising natural gas prices, and had no indication when it would resume.
While the beverage industry relies on CO2 to carbonate beverages, the meat industry uses the gas extensively throughout its processing; in slaughterhouses, and for packaging and refrigeration.
The British Poultry Council (BPC) warned that the industry is headed for a “downward spiral towards severely struggling supply chains”.
told it political house: “After five to seven days we will start to see significant problems processing the birds.”
The council urged the government to prioritize CO2 supplies for food production to limit disruption to supermarket supplies and hospitality businesses. It also sought financial support for CO2 production by the end of the year.
The UK is facing critical supply and staff shortages with many struggling industries blaming the disruption on Brexit and absenteeism due to Covid-related illness.
Fast food restaurants Nando’s, McDonald’s and KFC all faced supply issues, while pub Weatherspoon faced a shortage of popular beer brands.
The shortage of HGV drivers has prompted the government to change the testing process for lorry drivers, relax driver’s hours rules and introduce £7,000 funding for the Large Goods Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship Scheme.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /