20 Sep 2021

Carbon dioxide shortage is affecting poultry and swine industries in the UK

Meat processors are in talks with the government over a shortage of carbon dioxide that could hit meat production.

The carbon dioxide used by the meat industry is a by-product of fertilizer production, but fertilizer factories have been halting production due to soaring natural gas prices. The gas is used to stun pigs and chickens before slaughtering and also in the packaging process.

 

Poultry producers said the shortage “threatens national food security,” and the government said it was monitoring the situation “closely.”

Fertilizer producers have been struggling with natural gas prices that are at record highs as economies worldwide begin to recover from the Covid crisis. In the UK, lower winds have meant less renewable energy is generated. There have been outages at some nuclear stations. There have been lower flows into the UK of natural gas from Norway, pushing up the price of natural gas.

Last week, two large UK fertilizer factories owned by US firm CF Industries Holdings suspended operations due to soaring gas prices, and on Friday, Norwegian firm Yara said it would also cut production at a number of its European plants.

Nick Allen, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) chief executive, attended emergency talks with the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on Friday to discuss the issue.

 

“This crisis highlights the fact that the British food supply chain is at the mercy of a small number of major fertilizer producers – four or five companies – spread across northern Europe. We rely on




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