Friday, October 15, 2021

UK government to fund CO2 production to prevent food shortage

The British government will pay an American company millions of pounds in the coming weeks to ensure a mandatory CO2 supply for the food industry.

Trade Secretary Quasi Quarteng announced on Tuesday that the government would provide “limited financial support” to CF fertilizers, which produce about 60 per cent of the UK’s supply of carbon dioxide, which is mainly used by the food sector, but Also in the health and nuclear industries.

CO2 is used to stun animals before slaughter, in vacuum packing of food products to extend their shelf life, and to add fizz to beer, cider, and soft drinks. The solid form of CO2 is dry ice, which is used in food delivery.

Rising energy costs have led to the suspension of operations at fertilizer plants, including CF Fertilizers, which has suspended operations at its Teesside and Cheshire plants, causing severe shortages in CO2 supplies.

Under the deal, the government will pay the operating costs of CF Fertilizers for three weeks, so that the firm can resume CO2 production at its plant in Teesside.

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Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News on Wednesday that it would likely cost the British taxpayer tens of millions of pounds.

But Eustice said the government must take action to protect the food supply.

“The truth is that if we don’t take action by the end of this week or certainly in the early part of next week, some poultry processing plants will need to be closed and then we will have animal welfare issues,” he said. , “Because there will be a lot of chickens in your farms that could not be slaughtered in time and who would have to be euthanized in the fields, we would have a similar situation with pigs.”

Eustice said the food industry believes the price of CO2 is about to “increase significantly.”

“And when this price rises, there will be a market signal for these plants to continue production,” he said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

Speaking to lawmakers on Wednesday, Quarteng stressed that the financial aid would be “a very short-term arrangement” to address an “urgent problem”.

Food and Drink Federation chief executive Ian Wright welcomed the government’s intervention.

He added that the temporary solution means “there won’t be many noticeable creases on the shelves.” But he warned that the supply chain remains fragile.

PA and Reuters contributed to this report.

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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