UK challenges Brazilian Bolsonaro’s claim Johnson asked for emergency food deal

BRASILIA, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he met this week in New York, had asked him for an emergency deal to provide a food item that is lacking to Great Britain.

A spokesperson for Johnson’s office took issue with Bolsonaro’s account, saying it was not Downing Street’s recollection of the conversation without giving further details.

Bolsonaro, speaking on his weekly webcast to supporters, did not name the product, but said he passed Johnson’s request on to his agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina.

“He wants an emergency deal with us to import some kind of food that is lacking in England,” he said.

The president’s office did not immediately respond to a request for clarification.

A surge in natural gas prices has forced some UK fertilizer factories to close in recent weeks, leading to a shortage of CO2 used to put fizzy in beer and soda and stun poultry and pigs before slaughter. Read more

The UK government, seeking to avoid meat and poultry shortages, has extended state of emergency support and warned its food producers to prepare for a 400% increase in carbon dioxide prices.

Ministers, including Johnson, dismissed warnings from some vendors that there could be shortages of traditional Christmas dishes such as roast turkey.

Bolsonaro said Johnson had also asked him to help increase Brazilian whiskey imports from Britain, but added in his social media speech that it was up to private companies, not his government.

Reporting by Maria Carolina Marcello and Anthony Boadle, Additional reporting by Kylie MacLellan in London; Editing by Aurora Ellis, Peter Cooney and Barbara Lewis

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