Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on Thursday said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had requested an “emergency” deal to provide a food product that is missing in Britain, a claim that the British embassy in Brazil disputed.
“He wants an emergency agreement with us to import some kind of food that is lacking in England,” Bolsonaro said on his weekly livestream to supporters. Without naming the product, Bolsonaro said he referred the request to his agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina.
The British embassy in Brazil said what Bolsonaro said was not its recollection of the facts, according to Reuters. The office of the president has not immediately responded to clarification requests as to which product was being discussed.
The two leaders met earlier this week in New York, where Bolsonaro turned down Johnson’s call to get a coronavirus vaccine.
Some British fertilizer plants have shut down recently due to an increase in natural gas prices. The surge has lead to a lack of CO2, which is used to carbonate beer and soda as well as sedate some animals before slaughter.
In an attempt to avert meat and poultry shortages, the British government has lengthened its emergency state support to food producers. “We need the market to adjust, the food industry knows there’s going to be a sharp rise in the cost of carbon dioxide,” Environment Secretary George Eustice told Sky News on Wednesday.
Bolsonaro said Johnson also asked him to boost Brazilian exports of whiskey to the U.K., but added on social media that this would be up to private businesses rather than the official business of his government.
Portuguese media reports Bolsonaro wanted to bet a case of whiskey with Johnson that his antibodies were higher than the British prime minister’s despite him not having received a coronavirus vaccine. Johnson declined.
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