CO2 supply issues may trigger meat shortage, processing industry warns

2) may not return to normal levels for another two to three weeks – triggering likely shortages of meat for UK shoppers – the processing industry has warned. The production of crumpets, beer, fizzy drinks, fresh chicken and pork have been affected by shortages of CO2 over the past two weeks, amid longer than expected shutdowns at ammonia and ethanol plants – key producers of the gas – in the UK and also across Europe. Three out of five key UK CO2 producers have been shut down, hitting the country particularly hard, although one of them – a plant in Billingham, County Durham – reopened on Monday. Nick Allen, the chief executive of the British Meat Producers’ Association, said the CO2 shortage was continuing to cause considerable disruption throughout the meat supply chain and could take two to three weeks for supplies to return to normal. “We are hoping that the increase in CO2 production will happen quickly,” Allen said. “We have a number of plants that will be in difficulty by the end of the week if supplies do not materialise and it will be very difficult to keep everyone stocked with meat. We are still expecting plants to be experiencing problems over the next two to three weeks until normal supplies are fully restored.” Allen said some plants were having to improvise – for example by changing packaging methods – to ensure that the consumers do not face shortages in shops and restaurants. Amid calls for ministers to intervene in the growing crisis, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was due to hold a meeting of the food chain emergency liaison group on Monday at which affected government departments, industry and trade associations will share relevant information. Over the weekend, the supermarket giant Asda said it was limiting the amount of fizzy soft drinks people could buy. It has restricted shoppers to six bottles or multipacks of soft drinks online. However, in a boost for football fans and beer drinkers, the pub chain JD Wetherspoon said its supplies were nearly back to normal and it would be business as usual before England’s World Cup match on Tuesday evening. The pub chain, which had been unable to serve some beers and ciders on draft, said the situation should be resolved by Tuesday morning – only hours before England’s knockout showdown against Colombia. A spokesman said: “A high number of our pubs had been unable to serve three products on draft – John Smith’s, Strongbow and Strongbow Dark Fruit. Supplies of these products across all of the company’s pubs is almost back to normal and the issue is set to be resolved by Tuesday morning. So in effect we are getting back to normal and no more issues are expected.”   This article appeared on The Guardian website at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/jul/02/co2-supply-issues-may-trigger-meat-shortage-processing-industry-warns]]>

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