UK SUPERMARKETS are two weeks away from running out of British meat, industry experts have warned.
Soaring energy prices have led to a drop off in CO2 supplies, impacting the meat industry’s ability to slaughter animals humanely.
Supermarket shelves are expected to empty in coming weeks[/caption]
Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said manufacturers have between five and 15 days’ CO2 supply left.
Fertiliser plants have closed down due to the rising cost of energy – this has a knock on effect on the meat industry which uses the waste CO2 produced by the factories.
Mr Allen told Sky News that the factories, which accound for 60% of CO2 production, closed “at very short notice with no warning”.
The shortage will particularly impact supplies of pork and chicken, as 80% of pigs and poultry are slaughtered using CO2.
He added: “Then they will have to stop. That means animals will have to stay on farms.
“That will cause farmers huge animal welfare problems and British pork and poultry will stay off the shelves.
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“We’re two weeks away from seeing some real impact on the shelves.”
Supermarket bosses are also worried that CO2 shortages could become a problem in the run-up to Christmas.
Iceland managing director Richard Walker told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that suppliers who are looking at some of the stock they hold and their just-in-time chains are suggesting this “could become a problem over the coming days and weeks”.
He said: “This is not an issue that is months away, that is for sure.
“We are building up our stocks on key lines like frozen meat just to make sure we can deal with any unforeseen issue.
“At the moment we are fully stocked and our suppliers are OK, but we do need this sorted as quickly as possible.”
It’s not only the retail industry that has been affected by rising energy prices.
This morning energy provider Bulb warned it could go bust amid industry pressures from surging gas wholesale prices.
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