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Last Updated: Friday, 9 November 2007, 13:00 GMT
Christmas turkey shortage feared
In 2006, consumers bought an estimated 102,000 tonnes of turkey
A shortage of turkeys could hit Christmas dinners across the UK, industry chiefs have warned.

Rising feed costs could push up prices by as much as a fifth, industry sources have told the BBC's Farming Today.

And suppliers have said they may not be able to fill the gap if threatened strike action at turkey producers Bernard Matthews leads to a shortage.

Andrew Smith of Farming Today said: "There could be fewer, and more expensive, turkeys this Christmas."

Pay cut

He added that producers are warning that a doubling in the price of wheat - which is used to feed turkeys - birds will be 20% more expensive to rear.

This would add around 5 to the cost of the average Christmas lunch.

Meanwhile, the union Unite has announced that 1,300 workers at Bernard Matthew's turkey factories will take strike action on 24 November.

The company provides turkeys to some of the country's largest supermarkets.

Workers have been offered a 2% pay rise, but unions say that is below inflation and amounts to a pay cut.

According to market researchers Mintel, the UK turkey industry was worth 448m in 2006, with 102,000 tonnes of turkey meat sold.

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