Question by Soma Holiday: Should we be concerned about this?
Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
BY JOSH GERSTEIN – Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 21, 2008

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — 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, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

“Where’s the rice?” an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. “You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous.”

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for .99.

“You can’t eat this every day. It’s too heavy,” a health care executive from Palo Alto, Sharad Patel, grumbled as his son loaded two sacks of the Basmati into a shopping cart. “We only need one bag but I’m getting two in case a neighbor or a friend needs it,” the elder man said.

The Patels seemed headed for disappointment, as most Costco members were being allowed to buy only one bag. Moments earlier, a clerk dropped two sacks back on the stack after taking them from another customer who tried to exceed the one-bag cap.

“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.

Shoppers said the limits had been in place for a few days, and that rice supplies had been spotty for a few weeks. A store manager referred questions to officials at Costco headquarters near Seattle, who did not return calls or e-mail messages yesterday.

An employee at the Costco store in Queens 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.

“It’s sporadic. It’s not every store, but it’s becoming more commonplace,” the editor of, James Rawles, said. “The number of reports I’ve been getting from readers who have seen signs posted with limits has increased almost exponentially, I’d say in the last three to five weeks.”

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.

“I’m surprised the Bush administration hasn’t slapped export controls on wheat,” Mr. Rawles said. “The Asian countries are here buying every kind of wheat.” Mr. Rawles said it is hard to know how much of the shortages are due to lagging supply and how much is caused by consumers hedging against future price hikes or a total lack of product.

“There have been so many stories about worldwide shortages that it encourages people to stock up. What most people don’t realize is that supply chains have changed, so inventories are very short,” Mr. Rawles, a former Army intelligence officer, said. “Even if people increased their purchasing by 20%, all the store shelves would be wiped out.”

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. Mr. Rawles said the spot shortages seemed to be most frequent in the Northeast and all the way along the West Coast. He said he had heard reports of buying limits at Sam’s Club warehouses, which are owned by Wal-Mart Stores, but a spokesman for the company, Kory Lundberg, said he was not aware of any shortages or limits.

An anonymous high-tech professional writing on an investment Web site, Seeking Alpha, said he recently bought 10 50-pound bags of rice at Costco. “I am concerned that when the news of rice shortage spreads, there will be panic buying and the shelves will be empty in no time. I do not intend to cause a panic, and I am not speculating on rice to make profit. I am just hoarding some for my own consumption,” he wrote.

For now, rice is available at Asian markets in California, though consumers have fewer choices when buying the largest bags. “At our neighborhood store, it’s very expensive, more than ” for a 25-pound bag, a housewife from Mountain View, Theresa Esquerra, said. “I’m not going to pay . Maybe we’ll just eat bread.”

Best answer:

Answer by Jerry H
Well as the population increases we need to grow more food.

What do you think? Answer below!

3 thoughts on “Should we be concerned about this?”

  1. The answer is ‘HELL YES!’ There were, are and will be people starving all over the world the difference right now is that here in the good ‘ol US of A we have farmers growing corn not for food but to be made into fuel for cars….. Human beings sacrificed on the alter of greed so that yuppie socker moms can put cheap gas in minivans and multi-national corporations can make millions! Sometimes we might wish that gasoline were died blood red and the sounds of whimpering children starving to death were played as the gas pumped just to put things in perspective for the folks at home. As for food rationing here, well you better stock up!

  2. In my Church, our Leaders have warned us for the better part of a century to put away food storage. It’s only hoarding when the good is hard to come by. About 2 Years ago at a regional Conference, one of our Top Leaders, Elder Ballard gave us a stern warning.
    “If you have not started your food storage by now, it is almost too late to begin.”

    I have heard that maybe 10% of the members in my Church headed the counsel.

    Now, a few weeks ago, there was some mass Flooding in the Mid-Western United States, which has effectively Destroyed 60% to 80% of America’s ability to grow wheat this season. Forget about rice! What about bread in general?

    Also, I happen to work at Sam’s Club as a Cashier, and have noticed that a LOT of people have been interested in buying large quantities of flour lately, and that our Bakery section for some reason is about half the size it was at the beginning of the Year.

  3. COncerned? more than that.. this problem is a fact.. and I doudbt theres any solution specially when ppl dont believe in global warming… Im totally sure is part of the global warming.. not only India stopped exporting.. also other countries has stopped exporting it.. example.. egypt… brazil.. and others… and one of the biggest exporters to us Australia… this season the weather there was tooooo hot and dry the rice didnt grew as usually or expected….. this is more prove for those who doesnt believe in global warming.. specially here in the US where people is so NOT INFORMED, that they are trying to cover that the rice is use for fuel.. come on… ppl.. the news channels in US.. they try to cover things so people dont get scare of whats really happening.. open your eyesssssss………….. start doing somethingg oH my god! the world is falling apart right in front of you… and ppl still doesnt BELIEVE!!?!?!??!?!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.