AN ongoing shortage of CO2, believed to be caused by a longer-than-usual break in ammonia production in Europe, is threatening to have a drastic impact on the FMCG industry and its packaging suppliers during the current hot climate, with food, carbonated drinks and medical suppliers all affected by the shortage.
The gas is used to carbonate drinks, preserve fresh foods such as poultry and meat in sealed packages, as well as for some medical procedures. CO2 helps to protect meat and poultry from germs when it is packaged for sale.
It is unknown how long the shortage will continue, but at least five Co2 producers in Northern Europe are affected, with UK producers also closing for seasonal maintenance.
A shortage of meats, salads and carbonated drinks is foreseen as supplies run low during the current hot weather.
The FSA, along with trade bodies such as The British Poultry Council and BMPA (the British Meat Processors Association) have called for the Government to take action to help the industry.
There has been interruption in the supply of fizzy drinks, beer and a wide range of foods that are kept fresh during storage and transit using CO2.
The British Retail Consortium has written to retailers informing them that drinks and meat supplies could be affected.