'Christmas is safe' but there are 'challenges', Environment Secretary warns

22 September 2021, 08:18 | Updated: 22 September 2021, 09:56

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Environment Secretary George Eustice said the deal to safeguard CO2 supplies would help ensure "Christmas is safe" although the food industry still faced problems.

Poultry industry figures had warned that supplies of turkeys could be hit by a shortage of CO2.

Mr Eustice told LBC's Nick Ferrari: "Christmas is safe, of course. But there are challenges in the food supply chain, I'm not denying that.

"The lack of labour availability, pressures on logistics - all of these are causing some stresses.

Gas crisis: Taxpayers to pay towards the restart of CO2 production

"It does mean that in some areas the degree of choice in some supermarkets is down slightly on what it would normally be.

"But we are working with the industry to make sure that we get all the food that we need on the shelf for those all-important weeks running up to Christmas."

Read more: Gas crisis: major CO2 supplier restarts UK production

Read more: No question of lights going out this winter, says Kwarteng amid gas price crisis

CO2 is used across a host of sectors, including in the NHS and the food supply chain.

It is injected into the packaging of perishable foods such as meat and salads to inhibit the growth of bacteria, typically prolonging the shelf life of products such as beef steak by around five days.

The gas is also used to stun animals prior to slaughter, and is deployed as a coolant for medicines and vaccines in the NHS and likewise in nuclear programmes.

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