As reported by Gasworld, this is the “worst supply situation to hit the European carbon dioxide business in decades”, with suppliers struggling to source ammonia, used in food-grade carbon dioxide.
The Food and Drink Federation told Food Manufacture it was discussing the issue with its members. A spokesperson said: "CO2 is used widely throughout the food and drink supply chain and we are therefore engaging with members on the matter to establish where there are concerns or issues. We are also speaking with a number of Government departments in order to convey these views and ensure that any response is fair, proportionate and well-managed.”
The British Soft Drinks Association said producers were working with their suppliers to mitigate impact. Director general Gavin Partington said: “The shortage of CO2 across Northern Europe is impacting a wide range of businesses across the food and drink sector.
"Producers in the UK are taking active steps to maintain their service to customers, including working with their suppliers to mitigate the impact as well as looking at alternative sources.”
The UK meat industry has not yet reported any ill effects from the reported carbon dioxide shortage hitting Europe, but Food Manufacture understands that processors have been contacted by suppliers over the issue. The Association of Independent Meat Suppliers said it was meeting with Defra and the Food Standards Agency to discuss the implications for the food chain.
The meat industry, which primarily uses carbon dioxide in the slaughtering process for pigs and poultry, said it was investigating ways to keep supplies moving.
Fiona Steiger, deputy director of the British Meat Processors Association, said: “At the moment we are looking at ways to keep the supply chain moving and we have not heard that any of our members have stopped production.”
British Poultry Council (BPC) chief executive Richard Griffiths said:
“With the supply of CO2 tightened across Europe, the British Poultry Council is calling on all major gas producers to prioritise supplies to slaughterhouses and keep the food chain moving.
"British poultry producers are calling on gas suppliers to work towards developing a robust contingency plan that prioritises highest impact on the food chain, ensures a smooth supply of CO2 to slaughterhouses and enables poultry producers to resume production as soon as possible. The BPC will be working closely with Defra, BRC and gas suppliers to lay down effective contingency plans and mitigate any major impact on sustainable supply of food.”