British government has struck a deal with the American company, CF industries, to restart two of their plants in UK. The carbon dioxide (CO2) production plants were forced to shut down after the gas prices hiked rapidly which caused a threat to the supply of a wide range of food and drinks in the country.
The meat industry was threatened due to the lack of availability of CO2 as it is used at several stages like stunning the animal and preserving meat for shelf life, while processing meat. The meat processors warned that they would need to halt production in few days if CO2 is not made available immediately. Besides meat industry, CO2 is used for packaging of food products by bakers and beer and soft drink manufacturers use CO2 to add fizz to the drinks.
The gas has many other applications outside food and drinks including medicine where it is used for various procedures that ranges from removing warts to complicated surgeries. The energy production sector is also a dominant consumer of CO2 as it is used as a coolant for several processes.
UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng met CF industries CEO, Tony Will on Sunday for negotiations to provide financial support to the company to restart CO2 production. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had stated earlier in New York that the government will take all the necessary actions to get the plants to operate again.
The soaring price of natural gas had also caused the collapse of several other energy providers which was starting have a major impact on the food industry. The shortage of gas had been blamed on the impact of COVID-19 and Brexit. British officials commented that it was vital for the CO2 production to be restarted and distributed to the food manufacturers as soon as possible.