News of soaring gas prices has sparked food shortage fears across major food and drink industries in Britain.
Carbon dioxide, production of which is at risk of being “shut down” completely, is used for many of Britain’s day-to-day products, including the production of fizzy drinks, meat, beer and bread.
Following concerns over rising wholesale gas prices, the Government will be holding emergency talks with figures from the energy industry today (18 September).
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng is to meet with chief executives across the industry with immediate effect to discuss the impact of the surge in prices, the Evening Standard reports.
He will hold the talks with executives from gas producers, suppliers and regulator Ofgem.
The talks were arranged following the closure of two major UK fertiliser plants, after prices were too high for them to continue business.
These closures effectively shut down Britain’s commercial carbon dioxide production, the Standard reported.
Soaring prices have been put down to the triple threat of high global demand, low solar and wind energy output, and maintenance problems.
In meat production, carbon dioxide is used to extend products’ shelf life as well as stun animals before they’re slaughtered.
The Times even reported that the meat industry has just two weeks until carbon dioxide supply is shut down completely.
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Nick Allen, chief executive at the British Meat Processors Association, said on BBC Radio 4: “If we haven’t got the CO2 supplies, on the packaging side that reduces the shelf-life of products going on the shelves at a time when we are really struggling because of all the transport problems.
“This has come as a huge shock, it has happened so quickly.”
He continued: I think everyone is outraged in the industry that these fertiliser plants can shut down without any warning whatsoever and suddenly take something which is so essential to the food supply chain off-stream just like that.
“We really need Government to step in now and actually do something.”
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