The British Poultry Council has called on retailers to pay higher prices for poultry as the cost of animal feed continues to climb.

An anticipated dramatic fall in world feed grain harvests coupled with the US government raising the cap on levels of corn-based ethanol in petrol had sent corn and wheat prices soaring, the BPC said. Since early July, wheat and soya prices had risen by more than 50% and 30% respectively. Corn had risen 60% in price in the past three months.

Poultry producers would inevitably have to pass rising costs on to customers because they were so large they could not be absorbed by UK farmers or processors though efficiencies, said BPC chief executive Peter Bradnock. "I am confident retailers understand the enormous pressure on producers."

He also warned retailers not to look abroad for cheaper meat, claiming the cost increases were affecting producers globally.