World Food Prices Continue To Decline On Cheaper Cereal

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The FAO index averaged 199.1 points in September, 1% lower than in August and 5.4% lower since the start of the year. Global cereal production, which includes wheat and corn, is expected to be 8% higher over 2012s level, at 2.49 billion tons. The U.S., the worlds largest corn producer, is responsible for the bulk of the increase, expected to harvest a record crop of 348 million tonsthats 27% higher than the previous year. U.S. corn supplies have been tight since the size of last years harvest was hit by severe drought. But after high acreage seeded with corn this spring and largely favorable summer weather, the U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts record U.S. corn output this year. That should push corn prices lower. Current levels mark a drastic turnaround since food prices soared to new heights in early 2011 amid global supply constraints for cereals, sugar and cocoa. Rising food prices helped spark the unrestknown as the Arab Springthat analysts say ultimately ousted the leaders of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. The London-based International Grains Council this month said world corn production during the 2013-14 crop year will hit 943.2 million tons. It also predicted that world wheat production will increase to 692.6 million tons, reflecting better prospects for the European crop than previously expected and a larger harvest out of Russia and Ukraine. Still, despite ample supplies of cereals, the UN warned that food shortages continue to plague certain countries. Syria, because of the ongoing political tension has 4 million people which are in need of humanitarian assistance.

From left to right: Shawn McClain, Michael Mina, Masa Takayama, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Julian Serrano and Jean Philippe Maury

Such topics are ripe for debate. The hottest controversies in nutrition today are lack of disclosure and food misinformation appearing in various popular medianewspapers, general consumer magazines, and the tabloid press. However, three equally important controversies in nutrition actually are science versus nature, childhood obesity, and the ever-increasing type 2 diabetes epidemic in children and adults. Consumers want to know whether whats on the label is the same as whats in the food or nutritional supplement. According to the International Food Information Council (IFIC) nutrition/food safety staff, while there are nutrition controversies almost too numerous to mention, a couple stand out food myths (or misinformation) concerning the safety/health benefits of consuming fish and seafood, especially canned tuna; and continuing misinformation about the safety of low-calorie sweeteners, such as Aspartame. For further information, check out the IFICs website. What are the current most critical debates about nutrition issues and controversies? The three most critical debates are about hunger versus safer food, childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes risks, and food misinformation, which includes the question of whether what’s printed on the label is or is not what’s in the container. Lets look at the debates, theories, and ever-evolving scientific research on health and nutrition at all ages. According to Dean O. Cliver, PhD, Professor of Food Safety, University of California-Davis, Insistence on a zero-risk food supply will raise the cost of food disproportionately and cost more lives than it could ever save. Further, ultimate improvements in nutrition still will not yield immortality. We need to deal with hunger, in America and the world, first. Over any reasonable period, not eating is more dangerous than eating. According to the opinion of Manfred Kroger, PhD, Professor of Food Science Emeritus, The Pennsylvania State University, the most important issue in nutrition today is the lack of nutrition knowledge by consumers.