Industry figures have warned that supermarkets could face shortages of some meat products if carbon dioxide proaction does not resume immediately.

Experts have warned that the current CO2 crisis could see shortages of chicken and pork in the supermarkets, price increases across food products, and millions of animals unnecessarily culled.

A shortage of carbon dioxide emerged after production was paused at two fertiliser factories in northern England last week because of the rising price of natural gas. Carbon dioxide is used across food supply chains in Britain in everything from the slaughter process to the packaging used to keep salads, meat and bread fresh.

Trade bodies have warned that without an urgent resumption in carbon dioxide production, diners could start to see some items disappear from menus as soon as next week. The Government has since struck a deal using some taxpayer funds to get the fertiliser plants moving again but it is unclear how long it will take to clear the backlog.

Carbon dioxide and the meat industry

CO2 is used in the UK supply of pork and chicken. While sheep and cattle are still mostly killed using a captive-bolt stun pistol, pigs and poultry are now more often stunned using carbon dioxide. Animals are exposed to high concentrations of CO2 in an abattoir resulting in gradual loss of consciousness before they go to slaughter. Without carbon dioxide there is no way to stun the animals before slaughter.

A spokesperson for the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) told i that “without CO2 they literally cannot process any animals. There’s not another way of adjusting production, because factories are just set up to use CO2”.

Leading figures in the food industry say that without an urgent restart of CO2 production, there could be mass shortages of products such as chicken and pork within two weeks, as well as price hikes across a range of items.

A spokesperson for the British Poultry Council added that millions of animals could be culled if slaughterhouses are forced to shut. Livestock cannot enter the food chain if it has not been killed in a registered slaughterhouse, meaning farms could be forced to deal with a “backlog” of animals. Farmers may then face having to cull some of their livestock because “welfare issues” arise when there are too many animals on one farm.

Original source: https://inews.co.uk