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Great British fry-up under threat

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The cost of a full English is set to soar, as animal feed prices push up the cost of eggs, bacon and dairy produce. Wheat has also hit a record high, so toast isn't going to be the budget option, either.

According to The Times UK egg producer Noble Foods, which supplies roughly 40 per cent of the UK's eggs, said that farmers were being driven out of the chicken-wrangling business by rising feed prices.

In spite of the rapidly approaching laying season, farmers are cancelling orders of chicks, the firm said. It warned that the move could mean egg shortages in the lead up to Christmas, for the first time since the Second World War.

And it's not just eggs. Feed costs are affecting pig farmers and dairy farmers, thanks in no small part to the early summer flooding in the UK. The poor weather has caused a shortage of local wheat, exacerbating high prices globally.

Pork, the mainstay of a decent fry-up in its sausagey and bacon form, is costing too much money to produce. Farmers are losing an average of £23 per pig. Supermarket bacon must rise by 13p per pack to offset that loss, while eggs would have to go up by 20p on half a dozen.

Milk and therefore butter are also under pressure. The Milk Development Council claims that shops are selling butter at a loss, and farm co-operative First Milk says we should brace for a five per cent drop in milk supplies after the summer washout.

We'd like to blame biofuel, so we can make a nice joke about driving to the supermarket on a tank of corn oil to find empty shelves. But it seems that in the vain search for a science or IT-related angle on this story we must instead lay the blame at the feet of global warming, and extreme weather events. Ah well. ®

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