CO2 shortage: Meat industry boss warns of Christmas food supplies

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An article in Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of Germany’s most popular daily papers, described how because of a “lack of butchers in Great Britain, slaughtered animals are exported to the EU to be processed there.” Alexander Mühlauer, the title’s London correspondent, described how the meat is returned to the UK once the deed is done.

He contextualised the butcher deficit in the context of wider shortages and Brexit arguments.

Mr Mühlauer said: “It’s not that the UK government isn’t doing anything, but there are some shortages that can’t be resolved that quickly.

“Due to the shortage of butchers in the UK, 800 work visas were offered in October, but pigs are still being disposed of because they cannot be slaughtered.

“To end the misery, British meat producers have now started to export carcasses, i.e. slaughtered animals, to the EU.

“There, these are then processed and packaged before they go back to the UK.”

He labelled the current process of exporting only to import once again “absurd,” but argue that otherwise the UK meat processing industry would be “at the end of its tether.”

Nick Allen, CEO of the British Meat Processors Association, said that beef producers were exporting slaughtered animals to Ireland, and returned to UK supermarkets once butchered and packed.

Pig carcasses are transported to the Netherlands to be butchered and packaged as pork, as the Financial Times reported.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reporter then ventured onto how “there are quite a few shortages in the UK in many different areas of everyday life, some of which are more noticeable, others less so.”

He asked: “Brexit? Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his government claim that it has nothing to do with it.”

In an interview last month with BBC Radio 4, Mr Johnson denied that there was a crsis, and said supply chain difficulties were like a “giant waking up.”

He added: “What that shows is the global shortage.”

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He said: “This Government is doing the difficult, long-term things.

“We got Brexit done, which was a very difficult thing to do, and we are now going to address the big underlying issues that face the UK.”

However, the Süddeutsche Zeitung article, there are “two main reasons” for the deficit of between 10,000 and 12,000 butchers in the UK: “Brexit and Corona.”

They say: “Around 200,000 EU citizens left the UK last year alone, many of them from Eastern Europe.

“After Brexit, it has become much more difficult for them to work in the UK.

“If you want to do that as an EU citizen, you now need a visa.

“However, the process is complicated and time-consuming, so most overseas butchers may not be able to start working before the end of November.

“It is also unclear how many butchers want to come to the UK at all, because the visas are limited to six months.

“Then the butchers have to go back to their home country.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.

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