Supermarkets across London could have food shortages “within days” due to the CO2 (carbon dioxide) crisis.
CF Industries have had to limit production because of soaring gas prices, meaning Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda could see food and drink shortages “within days”.
CO2 is a by-product of fertiliser and is used in hundreds of products every day, it’s used in dry ice and snow that helps keep food fresh during transportation. It’s also used to carbonate water, soft drinks and alcoholic drinks.
READ MORE:Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda recall breakfast item over safety fears
(Image: Daily Mirror)
Pubs rely on it to dispense drinks and beers and it helps promote the growth of plants, including cucumbers in greenhouses. While packaged meats, baby food, fresh food and baked products incorporate CO2 to improve shelf life by preventing bacteria.
There have also been warnings that Christmas dinners could be cancelled if the shortage continues, as CO2 is essential when animal livestock is slaughtered.
(Image: Gayle Marsh)
Iceland’s managing director, Richard Walker, admitted that a reduced supply of carbon dioxide gas could affect UK supermarket shelves much sooner and could happen in “the coming days and weeks”, LancsLive reports.
Richard added: “This is no longer about whether or not Christmas will be okay, it’s about keeping the wheels turning and the lights on so we can actually get to Christmas.
“This could become a problem over the coming days and weeks, so this is this is not an issue that’s months away.”
Iceland has reportedly stocked up on essential items such as frozen meat in light of the crisis.
The last time the UK experienced a CO2 shortage was in 2018, when a heatwave caused an increased demand for drinks and frozen products, however, this is expected during the summer months.
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The shortage has caused two US-owned fertiliser plants, which are responsible for producing 60 per cent of the UK’s carbon dioxide – to shut down last week.
However, the British Frozen Food Federation have stressed that a shortage of dry ice will have a “minimal impact” on frozen food supplies and that some reporting has been inaccurate.
It did stress, however, that the shortages have already impacted ingredients and chilled food.
(Image: Steve Parsons/PA Wire)
British Frozen Food Federation CEO, Richard Harrow said: “The CO2 shortage is already affecting primary production of many ingredients used by frozen food producers and this may lead to shortages of some frozen food supplies.
“However, chilled foods producers are much larger consumers of CO2, which is used to extend the shelf life, so chilled food supplies are likely to be hardest hit by the shortage.
“The greater concern is that the CO2 shortage will disrupt production throughout the food supply chain at a time when we are experiencing severe labour shortages and freight problems.
“These have led to major supply chain issues that are set to continue for the foreseeable future.”
In light of the HGV shortage, the CO2 crisis is another blow to the food production and distribution industry.
Other organisations such as the British Retail Consortium have called on the government to help tackle the crisis, and have warned that immediate action is needed “to avoid significant disruption to food supplies”.
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