CO2 Shortage In Britain Causes Crumpet Crisis


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter

The carbon dioxide shortage plaguing Europe has affected a widely popular breakfast product in the United Kingdom: crumpets.

Warburtons — a major baking company based near Manchester, England, and the U.K.’s largest producer of crumpets — said it has no choice but to suspend production of the breakfast delicacy at two of its four bakeries. The company claims it does not have enough gas for use in packaging that properly extends the crumpets’ freshness and shelf life.

“We are working hard to ensure availability but we are already experiencing shortfalls and this will only continue to get worse unless supply is returned to normal very soon,” a Warburtons’ spokesman told the Guardian. “Faced with the tough trading conditions that we were all already battling, it’s fair to say this is a most unwelcome challenge to be dealing with right now.”

Warburtons is currently operating at around 50 percent of normal production volume — a major problem for the U.K., where the popular griddle cakes are a staple product in breakfasts and snacks.

The crumpet crisis comes as many areas in Europe are facing CO2 shortages. The problem stems from a longer-than-normal summer pause in production of ammonia, a crucial source of carbon dioxide on the continent. A number of ammonia plants in Europe have temporarily shut down for maintenance — the U.K. hit hardest with only one ammonia plant currently in regular operation. (RELATED: Europe’s Wind-Heavy Power Grid At Grave Risk)

The CO2 crisis has affected other popular foods in Britain. Grocers in the country have been forced to ration beer, soda drinks and other products.

However, the problem is expected to be alleviated once a large U.K. ammonia plant restarts on Friday and another on July 7.

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