CO2 industry strikes deal to avoid shortages
A new deal has been struck to avoid a potential shortage of CO2 in the food and drink industry.
CO2 is used in food packaging, fizzy drinks and beer, and to stun animals before slaughter.
Last year CF Industries, which provides 60% of the UK's food-grade CO2, briefly stopped production at two plants following a rise in global gas prices.
There were fears another shutdown could occur this month after a three-month deal brokered by the government came to an end on 31 January, with the food industry raising concerns this could lead to issues with food and beer production.
A short government statement today (1 February) said the CO2 industry had reached a new agreement to allow production at CF Industries' Billingham plant to continue while global gas prices remain high.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: "[The deal] means key sectors, including food processing and nuclear power, are ensured supplies of CO2.
"In the longer term, the government would like to see the market take measures to improve resilience, and we are engaging on ways this could happen."
A spokesperson for CF Industries said: "The Billingham Complex remains operational and continues to sell CO2 on a contractual and spot basis."
In 2018, a shortage of CO2 led to pubs seeing some beer stocks affected while livestock producers and drinks producers saw their supplies dwindle.
Image: Angel L / Shutterstock