A surge in gas prices has led to knock-on supply chain problems that risk crippling wide parts of the UK’s food supply network.
The energy bills forced fertilizer plants to shut down, meaning the by-product carbon dioxide stopped being produced. It is a key chemical used throughout the fresh food industry to extend the shelf life of products from salads to meats and beyond.
The British government, seeking to avert meat and poultry shortages, has extended emergency state support and warned its food producers to prepare for a 400% rise in CO2 prices.
Ministers, including Johnson, have repeatedly brushed aside suggestions there could be shortages of traditional Christmas fare such as roast turkey, though some suppliers have warned of them.