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A pressing need to repair our broken food chain

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The sight of acres of empty supermarket shelves stemming from a shutdown of just two fertiliser factories (where carbon dioxide is a vital by-product) shows just how little we really understand about the complex supply chain which ensures we always have not just enough to eat, but the variety and quality of produce which we have come to expect.

Everyone knows that CO2 is a core ingredient in fizzy drinks, but how many of us realised that it is widely used in meat processing, promoting the growth of produce such as cucumbers and tomatoes in greenhouses, and in the packaging (to extend shelf life) of a whole range of items from baby food to baked products?

The reliance on carbon dioxide is just one of an endless number of similar links in the food chain, and the fact that chain is currently starting to unravel teaches us that ignorant tinkering with it for political gain could have very serious consequences indeed.

The Covid pandemic has to a certain extent exposed some of the weaknesses in the chain, but it has to be said that despite the draconian restrictions of lockdown, producers, logistics organisations and supermarkets........

© Norwich Evening News

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