The British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) has asked the government for more help for the meat industry if the country faces another CO2 shortage.
The association said a “strategic response” was need and that the British food supply chain was “at the mercy of a very small number of CO2 suppliers”, many of which operate outside of the UK. The recent shortage in June affected abattoirs and meat processing plants which were unable to take in animals or process food.
The BMPA is now teaming up with industry bodies and politicians to lobby Greg Clarke the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to take a firmer stance with the UK CO2 producers.
The association said the disruption came at a cost for the sector and posed a “risk of a logjam of animals” and a potential animal welfare issue. It also said that some manufacturers didn’t have an alternative method of production which didn’t rely on CO2.
A particularly prominent example was meat processor Quality Pork, which was forced to suspend operations at one of Scotland’s largest slaughterhouses, Brechin, Angus as a result of the shortage.
Nick Allen, CEO of the BMPA, said: “I’m receiving multiple reports from meat industry companies that CO2 suppliers are allowing a bidding war to break out amongst their customers, with only the biggest companies that have the deepest pockets able to compete for scarce gas supplies.
“We urgently need the Secretary of State for Business to convene the big CO2 manufacturers to demand that they coordinate to minimise disruption, and provide information to Britain’s businesses so contingency plans can be made.”