Christmas dinner could be ‘cancelled’ as meat supplies may run out in two weeks

Everyone knows one of the best things about Christmas is the dinner.

So many festive fans will be devastated to hear that their big meal may be at risk.

That's because major food producers have warned meat supplies could run out in two weeks.

The news has meant Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has been locked in crisis talks with energy bosses.

According to The Sun, high-level discussions took place in Whitehall as soaring gas prices threatened a huge knock-on effect for the production and supply of food.

One of the country’s biggest meat firms said Christmas dinners could be off.

Meanwhile, Ocado said it was unable to deliver frozen goods due to a ­shortage of dry ice produced by ­carbon dioxide (CO2).

A shutdown of two fertiliser plants in the north of England — which produces CO2 as a by-product — has caused big issues in meat supply and other foods.

The factories had to close due to the high gas prices after providing 60& of domestic production of commercial CO2.

The gas is used to stun animals before slaughter and in the packaging of foods to increase shelf life.

British Meat Processors Association boss Nick Allen said businesses in the industry can carry on for less than two weeks before CO2 stocks run out and no meat will be available.

He said: “Everyone is outraged these fertiliser plants can shut down without warning and take something so essential to the supply chain off-stream just like that.”

Ranjit Singh Boparan, the owner of Bernard Matthews and 2 Sisters Food Group, also said Christmas could be "cancelled".

He commented: “The supply of Bernard Matthews turkeys this Christmas was already compromised as I need to find 1,000 extra workers to process supplies. Now, with no CO2 supply, Christmas will be cancelled.”

One meat industry figure said getting hold of CO2 was “hand to mouth” said that the public should expect to see price rises in shops in the next few weeks and months.

Mr Kwarteng reportedly held crisis meetings yesterday with energy bosses including Centrica and EDF where the “impact” of high global prices was talked about but there were no current supply concerns.

Industry figures said there is already a “perfect storm” over the Christmas run-up and a shortage of haulage drivers.

There are also fears that four smaller energy companies could go bust next week as larger companies ready to step in and take on a million customers.

Meanwhile, popular online comparison site Compare The Market has suspended offering energy quotes due to a lack of tariffs on the market.

The Environment Department said: “We have had extensive meetings with representatives from the meat production and processing sectors, and are continuing those conversations this weekend.”

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