A partnered article with: Compressed Gas Association (CGA)
This month, the Compressed Gas Association (CGA) led a coalition, including representatives from multiple food and beverage groups, who submitted a letter to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence expressing strong concern that the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic creates a significant risk of a shortage in carbon dioxide (CO2). In stating this, the CGA led coalition aimed to provide insight on the significant impact that the CO2 shortage would have on essential food and beverage supplies, as well as other essential sectors of the U.S. economy.
Carbon Dioxide as many know, is critical for the operations of food and beverage manufacturers that provide essential goods and services to Americans. CO2 is used in the processing, packaging, preservation, and shipping of many foods. In addition, CO2 in different forms is used in various aspects of the healthcare industry and is also an important component in many municipal water treatment systems.
The coalition letter, signed by leaders from the Compressed Gas Association, the North American Meat Institute, the National Pork Producers Council, the National Turkey Federation, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the Beer Institute, the Brewers Association, and the Renewable Fuels Association, urged immediate federal action to put manufacturing plants that support CO2 production back into service, especially those sites that are capture ready. If federal action is not swift, the letter warned a slowdown in food and beverage manufacturing due to a shortage in CO2 will ultimately lead to shortages of needed goods.
In the Industry Coalition Letter to Vice President, Mike Pence, it furthermore stated, “Representing thousands of American workers across all 50 states that ensure the reliability of our Nation’s food supply, we write to express our strong concern that the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic creates a significant risk of a shortage in carbon dioxide that would significantly impact access to essential food and beverage supplies and other essential sectors of the U.S. economy. We bring this to your attention and request the assistance of the federal government during this temporary emergency to prevent a substantial CO2 shortage before it creates any food and beverage shortages.”
In stating their immediate concern for industries worldwide, the CGA and many additional recognized industry experts came together as one to emphasize the significant impact of COVID-19 and its direct influence on carbon dioxide (CO2) production and the gases need throughout the nation. With the coalition letter further stating, “A shortage in CO2 would impact the U.S. availability of fresh food, preserved food, and beverages, including beer production.
The guidance issued by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 28, 2020, deemed these industries as “essential critical infrastructure”: food manufacture, including food processing and livestock production, beverage production, renewable fuel development, and chemical and industrial gas supply chains. Without stable sources of CO2 across the nation, these food and beverage manufacturers will be unable to operate at capacity, leading to shortages for Americans of the important goods they depend on, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.”
It is during unprecedented times like these, where it more important than ever before to come together as one and shed light on circumstances that can often go unnoticed. We asked CGA President and C.E.O Rich Gottwald what he believed to be the biggest goal in terms of seeing this to fruition. He stated, “Our goal in writing to Vice President Pence is to bring light to this critical issue and to work with the entire supply chain, including our members, to solve the approaching CO2 shortage.”
Leaders in the industry such as CGA have not been the only key influence to step forward on the CO2 shortage issue at hand. Additional industry leaders such as Gasworld, have also brought the CGA coalition letter to the forefront across their market-leading news portal, which is created for the global industrial gas sector and community. Like Gasworld, CO2Meter’s goal is to provide valuable content and make our partners and customers aware of the potential for CO2 shortages to escalate.
Seeing those across the globe come together in identifying the CO2 shortage challenge due to the current pandemic as well as necessary steps to resolve the production shortfall, is inspirational. If the gas distribution and detection communities can continue to work together to highlight the potential shortfalls and urge governments to be proactive then we’ve made a difference in the fight against the pandemic.
About the Compressed Gas Association (CGA): An American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited Standards Developing Organization, the CGA works directly with federal, state, and provincial agencies and fire code officials to promote safe and responsible practices and regulations. Additionally, CGA works with other industrial gas associations around the world to harmonize standards to advance safety in the industrial gas industry. They also participate in the United Nations to develop model regulations that apply to the industrial gas and equipment industry. Learn more, here.