Only 3 short years ago, rising oil prices along with food costs led to worldwide outrage. Riots took place in 25 countries around the world because people couldnt afford to feed their families. For the first time in almost 20 years the effects were felt in the US as food prices rose by 5.5%. With similar tones beginning to take shape and the continued devaluation of the US dollar, the USDA is now predicting that food prices in the US could easily rise by 3.5% before the end of 2011 if not higher. One USDA agriculturist expects that food prices overall will likely rise by up to 60% compared to last year.
Weve reported previously on expected food price inflation that should be expected this year. The Federal Reserve began a quantitative easing program of printing new money that will ultimately decrease its own value, and this combined with already increasing oil prices have many consumers either on the edge of their seats or already running for the door to stock up while they can.
Inflation of this degree on commodities like food occurs when the increases to other costs can be offset or avoided. If fuel costs rise, people can carpool. If housing costs rise, people find roommates. The one are that people cannot skimp on is on food, which we need to live. The recent approval of a Senate bill that grants the FDA additional power and makes small farms governable by the Department of Homeland Security will prevent as many people from self sustaining, and leave many with nowhere to turn for the most basic of necessities.
Even if smaller farms are able to afford to continue to operate within these new guidelines, there are all of the genetically modified (GMO) crops to contend with. Many of these seeds contain a suicide gene that will either prevent the crops from producing seeds that can be used for the next season, or they will just be infertile. Even worse news has come to light recently in regard to GMO crops. It seems that a new pathogen has emerged from the use of GMO crops that are Roundup ready, and are resistant to weeds. A former military pathogen researcher has written a letter to the Secretary of the USDA that shows that GMO corn and soy products are linked to a 45% rate of spontaneous abortion among cattle.
Increasing costs may possibly lead to shortages because grocers wont be able to afford to keep products on their shelves because their customers wont be able to afford to purchase them. In turn, the US could experience the unrest and potentially even the riots that other parts of the world felt in 2008. Whats worse is knowing that even if food werent in short supply, it could still very well be the end of us. Genetically modified crops have been blamed for a slew of suicides in other countries because of their decreased yields leading to bankruptcy by farmers, but with the news of such a high rate of spontaneous abortions in cattle, it should be considered that they could be just as harmful to humans.