Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Face of the Global Food Crisis: U.S.A.

Today's New York Times is reporting that warehouse stores like Sam's Club and Costco are imposing limits on how much rice customers can buy.
American rice futures are hitting record highs amid global food inflation, although one rice expert said the warehouse chains might be reacting less to any shortages than to stockpiling by restaurants and small stores.

Sam’s Club said it would limit customers to four bags at a time of imported jasmine, basmati and long-grain white rice. The limits affect 20-pound bags, the kind that most retail customers are not likely to buy. Costco could not immediately be reached for comment on its limits, which apparently affect bulk purchases in some stores.
A Sam’s Club spokeswoman, Kristy Reed, said she could not comment on whether the problem had been caused by short supplies or by customers stocking up in anticipation of higher prices.

A USA Rice Federation spokesman, David Coia, said there was no rice shortage in the United States. A smaller chain, BJ’s Wholesale Club, said it was not imposing limits for now.

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