FAO: Food Price Index Reaches Its Highest Recorded Level

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The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of the U.N. has just released its 2010 food price index. Compared to 2002-2004, commodity food prices sharply increased, especially those of sugars and fats.

The new index is higher than in 2008 when people throughout the world rioted in protest. It is also at the highest level recorded since the index began in 1990.

What's going on? In 2008, FAO explained the crisis as the result of the combined effects of:

    • Competition for cropland from the growth in biofuels
    • Low cereal stocks
    • High oil prices
    • Speculation in food markets
    • Extreme weather events

I've discussed other possible explanations I've collected in previous posts.

This time, supply problems in grains, sugars, and meat are making the problem worse. FAO experts are predicting that prices will go even higher this year.

High food prices are a disaster for the poor and are also a ticket to social disorder. World leaders: Get to work!


This post also appears on foodpolitics.com.

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Marion Nestle is a professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University. She is the author of Food Politics, Safe Food, What to Eat, and Pet Food Politics. More

Nestle also holds appointments as Professor of Sociology at NYU and Visiting Professor of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell. She is the author of three prize-winning books: Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health (revised edition, 2007), Safe Food: The Politics of Food Safety (2003), and What to Eat (2006). Her most recent book is Feed Your Pet Right: The Authoritative Guide to Feeding Your Dog and Cat. She writes the Food Matters column for The San Francisco Chronicle and blogs almost daily at Food Politics.

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