Business

Food processors warn gas crisis may shut them down and see food prices rise further

Food processors say Australia’s gas crisis is threatening the country’s food security.

They say the high price of gas is set to push up the price of food and could even disrupt its supply.

The Master Butchers Co-operative (MBL) is just one business facing astronomic price rises for gas supplying its plant in Adelaide’s north.

The cooperative processes most of the by-products from South Australia’s meat industry, turning them into valuable things like tallow and pet food oil.

By-products can not be sent to landfill and there is only limited capacity to compost them.

“Our gas bill has gone from $135,000 a month to $900,000 a month,” CEO Jamie Higgins told the ABC.

“It’s catastrophic for us.”

MBL Proteins takes by-products from the meat, fish and poultry industry, absorbing waste products that would exceed available capacity in landfills or composting.(ABC News: Eric Tlozek)

If the company can not get affordable gas soon, it will have to shut down, which means meat and poultry processors might have to stop too.

“It would stop the market, stop the supply, especially in South Australia,” Mr Higgins said.

Food supply constraints on horizon

MBL is just one of many food processors affected by high gas prices.

“We use a lot of gas to produce food and we’re really hearing that prices are sort of doubling or tenfold what they previously were and that’s having a huge impact on our industry,” Food SA CEO Catherine Sayer said.

That means everyday customers will soon see higher prices for food.

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