The Government has struck a deal with CF Industries to keep production of C02, which poultry processors depend upon for slaughter and packing.
The US-owned firm that produces fertiliser at two plants at Billingham and Ince, and also supplies 60% of the UK’s C02 as a by-product, which is used extensively in the food industry, announced earlier this week it was stopping production due to rocketing gas prices. It has now said it will continue production. The terms of the deal are not known.
The British Poultry Council said it welcomed Government intervention, having warned poultry production would be compromised within days.
The BPC said C02 production must be considered something that is in ‘the national interest’ and both prioritised and financially supported by Government to keep food moving.
British Poultry Council Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said: “Today, industry met with George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to discuss the ongoing issue of CO2 shortages in food production.
This is just the start of a long road ahead. This episode has demonstrated the importance of CO2 in British poultry production, to avoid both bird welfare and supply issues. Food is a national security issue and must be treated as such: total poultry production in this country is around 20 million birds a week. The whole poultry meat industry is working tirelessly to avoid food shortages or the worst case scenario of empty supermarket shelves.
We will continue our work with Defra and BEIS on this issue.”