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Are there food shortages where you are?


SuzySushi
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Are there food shortages, food rationing, or runs on ingredients where you are?

This topic was inspired by this topic in the Japan forum.

In recent weeks, spiking food prices have led to riots in Haiti, Indonesia, and several African nations. The other day, The New York Sun reported that Costco stores in California were rationing sales of rice to one 20-pound sack per customer [most of this Asian-style rice is grown in California], and that major retailers in New York were rationing sales of cooking oil and flour. Clicky

Hawaii is super-sensitive to even the slightest whiff of shortages as we're an island chain, and everyone usually rushes out to stock up on household staples. I haven't checked my local Costco this week; as of last Saturday there was plenty of rice on the shelves. But this morning, the local Wal-Mart was completely out of 20-pound bags of rice. My local supermarket still had plenty in stock, on sale yet, for $8.99.

Have you noticed any food shortages, food rationing, or runs on ingredients in your neck of the woods?

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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In this morning's edition of the Seattle Times, it was noted that the Costco stores closest to downtown were all out of bulk rice. Apparently, many of the local Asian restaurant operators buy their rice from Costco, and there is a West Coast shortage of rice by the 20 and 50 pound sack.

Regards,

Michael Lloyd

Mill Creek, Washington USA

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But last night on the NBC news the president of Costco made the point that he didn't want to add fuel to the fire. That while supplies were low he didn't want to start a run on rice or any other food.

Edited by rconnelly (log)
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Are there food shortages, food rationing, or runs on ingredients where you are?

Here in Maritime Canada there haven't been any major changes in prices or availability, at least not that I can detect from my domestic point of view. Some wheat flour based items went up a bit in price, but that didn't last. However gasoline is $1.30/liter - a new record - that's got to make a difference in the days to come.

Peter Gamble aka "Peter the eater"

I just made a cornish game hen with chestnut stuffing. . .

Would you believe a pigeon stuffed with spam? . . .

Would you believe a rat filled with cough drops?

Moe Sizlack

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There are no shortages of rice here in Providence, but the prices are shooting up in both major supermarket chains and in small Asian markets. When I was doing some staples shopping at Shaw's, I talked to someone changing the prices on the rice, and she said, "Buy it now before I bring these new prices to the registers." It was a 30% increase.

Is that happening elsewhere?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Costco in my areas are limiting ...but the Korean and Southeast Asian Market rice in my area is not to bad I just saw Jasmine rice for a 50lb just under $20 ..the Korean short grain I like is still with in reason...but the usually huge piles of bags look smaller that is for sure ... then the news was on NPR on my way home from work so I am sure by tomorrow they will be gone or bumped up a lot...

at work everyone was saying "we better buy rice"

I think am going to live with what happens and adjust to missing rice for a while ...

bummer! I dont eat it often but I do adore it

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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The Costco at Signal Hill in L.A. County only had Uncle Ben's Converted and regular long grain rice on the shelves today. I asked about the Basmati and they said they had it on back order with no delivery date. Hit my local Smart and Final store and bought the last burlap bag of Basmati on the shelf. I paid $8.79 for 10 pounds. The clerk said customers seemed to be buying more rice.

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The Costco at Signal Hill in L.A. County only had Uncle Ben's Converted and regular long grain rice on the shelves today.  I asked about the Basmati and they said they had it on back order with no delivery date.  Hit my local Smart and Final store and bought the last burlap bag of Basmati on the shelf. I paid $8.79 for 10 pounds.  The clerk said customers seemed to be buying more rice.

Thats the Costco I used to shop at. We don't eat that much rice, but I think I'll go get a big bag just in case.

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I have not checked the stores here in the southern US for rice, but I know it seems everytime I go to the store I buy less and less and it cost more and more.

I may go get a bag or two, just in case. My hubby and I eat a lot of rice.

Just was I posted this there was a segment on the today show (a morning news program here in the US) that stated that due to weather conditions around the world, and the production of ethnal (sp?) that grain in general is becoming in short supply. -> I don't know how accurate that story was, though

Edited by CKatCook (log)

"I eat fat back, because bacon is too lean"

-overheard from a 105 year old man

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Nothing that I have noticed, but several friends around the USA are reporting rice shortages and even rationing. I don't buy much rice (thoguh I did buy some arobrio this weekend), so I didn't notice it.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

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I listen regularly to a big AM news station that broadcasts out of Los Angeles (KNX 1070 AM), and they've been fulminating all week about big box stores like Costco and Sam's Club putting limits on rice purchases per customer.

They are also, IMHO, doing a bit of irresponsible over-sensationalization, with headlines like "Food Rationing Hits SoCal: First Time Since WW II. I am absolutely NOT denying that the spike in prices of basic staples is rough on people, and even scary-bad for people at the low end of the economic scale or otherwise facing financial hard times. But don't you think it's a little much to imply that a store-chain-imposed limit on 20-pound bags of rice per purchase is on the same level of direness as the extensive US federal government-administered food rationing system implemented during WWII? Let alone the situation in genuinely impoverished countries where the current price spikes are causing real pain and food riots.

Maybe I'm a bit jaundiced because, for years now, I've shopped in the kind of bargain grocery stores which regularly put limits on quantity per purchase. Okay, they do that when they have an especially low-priced special, but still--it's not like this is a totally unheard-of practice. I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but if one wants to take a problem and turn it into an actual run on a food item and resulting shortage, well, headlines like the above would be a dandy way to add fuel to that fire.

But speaking of fuel to the fire: I'm also, at last, getting to read Omnivore's Dilemma--I was #47 on the library waiting list at one point--and I'm now up to my eyebrows in Pollan's dissection of the massive floodpipe of corn and other price-busting commodity foodstuffs ... all of which are totally dependent on petrochemical fertilizers to grow them and fuels to transport and process them. That the spike in world oil prices, and the diversion of some of the corn pipeline to make fuel ethanol, would result in food price spikes such as we are seeing, is such an obvious outcome of this dependence of our food supply on petrochemicals, that I'm raising my eyebrows even further at the shocked tone of some of these newscasts.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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This just in on CNN's website: Sam's Club, Costco Limit Bulk Rice Purchases

Story Highlights

* U.S. rice futures hit record high

* No shortage of rice in United States, USA Rice Federation says

* Agriculture Department: Global crop of long, medium grain rice larger than ever

Link

A spokesman for the USA Rice Federation says the warehouse chains may be reacting as "small restaurants and bodega-type neighborhood stores may be purchasing rice in larger quantities than they do typically to avoid higher prices."

SuzySushi

"She sells shiso by the seashore."

My eGullet Foodblog: A Tropical Christmas in the Suburbs

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If we all run right out and stock up on rice I guarantee there will be a shortage.

Remember the toilet paper shortage caused by Letterman?

I agree with that. I just bought my usual amount because I had used the last of my Basmati. I have seen many families putting two 20 pound bags in their carts. That much rice would go "buggy" on me before we could eat it all.

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There are no shortages of rice here in Providence, but the prices are shooting up in both major supermarket chains and in small Asian markets. When I was doing some staples shopping at Shaw's, I talked to someone changing the prices on the rice, and she said, "Buy it now before I bring these new prices to the registers." It was a 30% increase.

Is that happening elsewhere?

I'll know more after this weekend's run of grocery shopping. As it would happen, I'm out of rice. I prepare it less often than I did in the past, because one roommate has a visual aversion to it, but I always have some on hand.

I don't expect to see two-digit prices for the small one-pound bags I often buy now.

I listen regularly to a big AM news station that broadcasts out of Los Angeles (KNX 1070 AM), and they've been fulminating all week about big box stores like Costco and Sam's Club putting limits on rice purchases per customer.

They are also, IMHO, doing a bit of irresponsible over-sensationalization, with headlines like "Food Rationing Hits SoCal: First Time Since WW II. I am absolutely NOT denying that the spike in prices of basic staples is rough on people, and even scary-bad for people at the low end of the economic scale or otherwise facing financial hard times. But don't you think it's a little much to imply that a store-chain-imposed limit on 20-pound bags of rice per purchase is on the same level of direness as the extensive US federal government-administered food rationing system implemented during WWII? Let alone the situation in genuinely impoverished countries where the current price spikes are causing real pain and food riots.

Maybe I'm a bit jaundiced because, for years now, I've shopped in the kind of bargain grocery stores which regularly put limits on quantity per purchase. Okay, they do that when they have an especially low-priced special, but still--it's not like this is a totally unheard-of practice. I'm not saying there isn't a problem, but if one wants to take a problem and turn it into an actual run on a food item and resulting shortage, well, headlines like the above would be a dandy way to add fuel to that fire.

But speaking of fuel to the fire: I'm also, at last, getting to read Omnivore's Dilemma--I was #47 on the library waiting list at one point--and I'm now up to my eyebrows in Pollan's dissection of the massive floodpipe of corn and other price-busting commodity foodstuffs ... all of which are totally dependent on petrochemical fertilizers to grow them and fuels to transport and process them. That the spike in world oil prices, and the diversion of some of the corn pipeline to make fuel ethanol, would result in food price spikes such as we are seeing, is such an obvious outcome of this dependence of our food supply on petrochemicals, that I'm raising my eyebrows even further at the shocked tone of some of these newscasts.

Good points, Ducks.

In those occasional surveys that ask people their opinions of various professions, journalists usually rate very low on the scale, often below members of Congress. Since the majority of practitioners of the craft are educated not in the subjects they report on, but in the craft and ethics of reporting, perhaps it's no surprise that they often don't see some of the connections between things that more worldly observers such as Pollan (a journalist himself, remember) do.

Then again, what distinguishes The New York Times from your local Gannett rag is that people like Pollan write for it.

For a fillip on the ethanol subject: I understand that it takes more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than the ethanol provides. Maybe we need to rethink that particular "eco-friendly" fuel, or speed up the research on making it from switchgrass at least. We could also divert both the corn thus freed and the subsidies spent on the fuel to food uses again.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I agree about the sensationalism of the news; by reporting it, and adding a bit of drama to the report, people start to think about what other things might be in short supply. People who might not otherwise be buying rice now suddenly want to have it. Maybe the journalists should suggest they donate their purchase to a food bank....

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The Costco at Signal Hill in L.A. County only had Uncle Ben's Converted and regular long grain rice on the shelves today.  I asked about the Basmati and they said they had it on back order with no delivery date.  Hit my local Smart and Final store and bought the last burlap bag of Basmati on the shelf. I paid $8.79 for 10 pounds.  The clerk said customers seemed to be buying more rice.

Thats the Costco I used to shop at. We don't eat that much rice, but I think I'll go get a big bag just in case.

We don't eat much rice either, but we were saying tonight that we should go get some.

I haven't noticed any shortages here yet, but I'm going to Costco tomorrow, so I'll check. One thing I have noticed and it's not related to grains, is the crap quality of veggies lately. Also, potatoes. Is there a potato blight going on that I don't know about yet? It seems to me that every other potato I cut into, even though it looks gorgeous outside, is rotten inside. And gas is expected to hit $2.25 a litre here this summer.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Eh, rice. We eat it a couple of times a week and have a few pounds each of arborio and basmati on hand. For two people, I think we're going to be fine. Carolina rice, which is our staple, hasn't moved much in price. On the Chicago segments of "All Things Considered" tonight there was a long piece about the near doubling of a twenty pound sack of rice over last year in Korean, Mexican and Thai markets.

The merchants are cross because they're getting heat from customers with no increase in profit margins. One man told the Korean grocer: "Well, we'll eat more bread."

As a bread baker , the increased prices of a five pound bag of flour rocks me back on my kitten heels. But I can afford it if I avoid the L'Occitaine website and the lure of Amazon. But the run on rice in the US troubles me: it seems like an artificial crisis.

The shortage of rice in Asia -- catastrophic. And the rise of starvation worldwide: it actually keeps me awake nights. I'm sure other people will remember the picture on the front page of the New York Times last Sunday, showing a girl in Haiti picking for food on a dump. That's not shortage, that's starvation. This atheist prayed that night.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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As a bread baker , the increased prices of a five pound bag of flour rocks me back on my kitten heels. But I can afford it if I avoid the L'Occitaine website and the lure of Amazon. But the run on rice in the US troubles me: it seems like an artificial crisis.

I buy a 100# of flour every few months. Todays was $50. the one three months ago was $33. the one 3 months before that was $26.

$50 is still a real bargain, considering it works out to about $.6o per loaf...

Bud

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I bought rice today, not because of fear of rationing, but because I was out and needed it.

5 lbs of white long grain Carolina rice was $4.79. A 2 lb bag of Lundberg organic brown Basmati from California was quite expensive at $5.69, but not unexpected for an organic specialty rice.

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We went to Costco today here in Burlington. They had 5kg bags of basmati rice and there was no rationing that I could see, nor was there a frenzy to buy any. Other than that, there was the usual Uncle Ben's converted stuff that we don't touch and Minute Rice. There was also lots of flour. We did pick up a bag of basmati rice. I figure 5 kg will last us at least a year!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I went to buy brown rice at Wegmans today and noticed the shelves of regular rice (as in, not the instant kind) were bare. I ponied up over $6 for fairly large container of Texmati brown rice. I haven't tried it before so I'll be curious to try it.

My blog: Rah Cha Chow

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Here the news claims that thereis a rice shortage. And the shelves are relatively barer than usual. Maybe not enough time has passed to feel the effect. I bought 2 bags-also cause I was out- at the local grocers. There was less variety as well. But if there is not enough rice, there are other fine replacements. As someone here said on a talkback on online news. "if there is no rice, let them eat pasta"

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