UK disputes claim by Brazil's Bolsonaro that Johnson sought emergency food deal

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Brazil's President Bolsonaro looks on during a ceremony in Brasilia
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BRASILIA (Reuters) -Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Thursday that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whom he met this week in New York, asked him for an emergency agreement to supply a food product Britain lacks.

A spokesperson for Johnson's office disputed Bolsonaro's account, saying that 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 had passed Johnson's request to his agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina.

"He wants an emergency agreement 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 natural gas price surge has forced some British fertilizer plants to shut in recent weeks, leading to a shortage of CO2 used to put the fizz into beer and sodas and stun poultry and pigs before slaughter.

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

Ministers, including Johnson, have brushed aside warnings from some suppliers there could be shortages of traditional Christmas fare such as roast turkey.

Bolsonaro said Johnson also asked him to help increase Brazilian imports of whisky from Britain, but he added in his social media talk that this was up to private business and 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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