- Apr 1, 2005
- Reaction score
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http://www.foodandbeveragepackaging.com/CD...000000000345309Playing the blame game over food, fuel prices
by Pan Demetrakakes
As prices for both food and fuel climb ever higher, players on the global stage are pointing fingers at each other, arguing over cause and effect.
Biofuels, subsidized for years by the federal government, are coming under increasing criticism for their effect on food prices. In light of recent food riots in Haiti, Egypt and elsewhere, some have charged that using corn to make ethanol and similar fuels is wasteful and cruel.
The situation reached a climax of sorts last week when Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer accused the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) of being behind an “underground” campaign to roll back biofuel subsidies. Schafer and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), one of ethanol’s leading proponents in Congress, are battling an effort by the GMA to cut back biofuel subsidies to bring down the price of corn. Grassley sent a letter to 13 major food producers, including Hormel Foods, ConAgra Foods and Sara Lee. The letter read in part: “I hope you'll recognize that this smear campaign against biofuels is unfounded, irresponsible and pits traditional allies and partners in food production against one another.”
Some observers put the blame on increased food demand in countries such as China and India, especially an increased demand for meat, which takes more corn per calorie to raise. But Indian officials angrily rejected that assertion after President Bush made remarks to that effect earlier this month. An official in an economic development institute told The New York Times that if Americans didn’t eat so much, “many hungry people in sub-Saharan Africa would find food on their plates.”[/b]