Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 48

I N - P L A N T O P E R AT I O N S

AVERTING A

CRISIS
The availability of CO2 during the pandemic
squeezed some processors and served
as a wake-up call for the industry
BY L U K A S S O U T H A R D | m e a t p o u l t r y @ s o s l a n d.c o m

C

- MATT GIBSON

48

MEAT+ POULTRY | 02.21 | www.meatpoultry.com

and the North American Meat Institute (NAMI),
among other beverage industry organizations.
In April, the coalition sent a letter to Vice
President Mike Pence alerting him to the
dwindling CO2 supply and its implications for
food and beverage companies.
The coalition met with White House
officials as well as representatives from the
Department of Homeland Security and the
US Department of Agriculture to plan for
possible government intervention. Ultimately,
government assistance was not needed.
" Due to this early anticipation and the
cooperation of industry and government,
shortages were successfully managed until
carbon dioxide production increased again, "
said Julie Anna Potts, chief executive officer
and president of NAMI, in a statement.
Part of the reason the shortage didn't
spiral out of control was the decrease in
demand from the beverage industry. Normally,
springtime increases demand for carbonated
beverages - which also use a large share of
food-grade CO2 - as restaurants, sporting

Photos: Fixture Photography by Nicole Branch

" CO2 is a
commodity,
just like
corn - and
commodities
are always
available. It's
just a matter
of who wants
it more pays a
higher price. "

arbon dioxide (CO2) is an oftenoverlooked part of meat processing,
but the coronavirus (COVID-19)
pandemic has put a spotlight on this important
commodity.
Commercial CO2 is used to stun animals,
keep product cold for transportation, and to
cool meat products and equipment during
meat processing. Yet, there are few viable
alternatives that can easily replace the gas,
leaving many larger processors at the mercy of
fuel market fluctuations.
The COVID-19 pandemic significantly
reduced ethanol production as demand for
fuel decreased when people stopped driving
and traveling. Meat and poultry processors
worried that the supply of CO2 would not
meet the demands needed to run production
facilities efficiently.
Food industry trade groups formed a CO2
coalition to address the problem. It consisted
of the National Pork Producers Council
(NPPC), National Cattlemen's Beef Association
(NCBA), National Turkey Federation (NTF),


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Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - February 2021

Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 1
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 2
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - 3
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Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - vdg - 1
Meat+Poultry - February 2021 - vdg - 2
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http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2021_02_01
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http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_12_01
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http://digital.meatpoultry.com/sosland/mp/2020_10_01
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