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Wednesday, 23 April 2008 02:17

Food Rationing Hits Home

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slide18.pngIn national news, many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks. At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, California yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy. “Due to the limited availability of rice, we are limiting rice purchases based on your prior purchasing history,” a sign above the dwindling supply said.

slide20.pngAn employee at the Costco store in Queens New York said there were no restrictions on rice buying, but limits were being imposed on purchases of oil and flour. Internet postings attributed some of the shortage at the retail level to bakery owners who flocked to warehouse stores when the price of flour from commercial suppliers doubled. The curbs and shortages are being tracked with concern by survivalists who view the phenomenon as a harbinger of more serious trouble to come. Spiking food prices have led to riots in recent weeks in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. India recently banned export of all but the highest quality rice, and Vietnam blocked the signing of a new contract for foreign rice sales. At the moment, large chain retailers seem more prone to shortages and limits than do smaller chains and mom-and-pop stores, perhaps because store managers at the larger companies have less discretion to increase prices locally. For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags.

Read 4403 times Last modified on Friday, 28 August 2009 02:05