UK pig, poultry sectors worry over CO2 shortages

CO2 is needed for processing
calendar icon 29 August 2022
clock icon 2 minute read

CF Industries announced last week its intention to close its last remaining fertiliser plant at Billingham, UK. The move would take out the bulk of the remaining UK supply of Co2, posing a serious animal welfare issue, according to the British meat industry, as it is needed for the slaughter of pigs and poultry.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association, said the sector knew back in June that the closure of CF Industries' Cheshire plant would leave the UK vulnerable to shortages. Since then, ammonia producers in Italy and Germany have cut production which sent European food and drink companies scrambling to secure tightening supplies of the gas at the end of July.

"Whilst we are in a much better position now than we were a year ago, if CF Industries follows through on its threat to close Billingham the British meat industry will have serious concerns," said Allen. "Without sufficient Co2 supplies the UK will potentially face an animal welfare issue with a mounting number of pigs and poultry unable to be sent for processing."

"It’s for this reason that securing Co2 supplies is of key strategic importance and, following this latest development, we can’t see how government can sit on the side lines and insist that it’s for companies to work it out amongst themselves," Allen concluded. "They are going to need to step in."

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