Americans have seen increased food and energy costs as well as many food shortages over the past few months.
President Biden issued a warning to Americans about an impending food scarcity a little more than a month ago.
U.S. consumer prices rose 8.3 percent in April compared to the same month last year.
Prices for meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy products rose by 9.4% over the past year.
Due to the growing price of food, almost 65 percent of the 200 food banks in the Feeding America network reported a rise in need for food assistance in March compared to the previous month.
The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that more than 38 million Americans, including 12 million children, are food insecure (USDA).
And this lack of food security has far-reaching consequences.
Severely food-insecure people are more likely to have additional issues.
An increase in food insecurity, for example, can exacerbate health conditions such as diabetes, anxiety, and depression.
Food Supply Chain Feeling the Pressure
Every part of the food supply chain is experiencing this food crisis.
Farmers are feeling the pinch from the high diesel fuel and fertilizer costs.
Truckers are also feeling the pinch, and there’s a specific region in the world where food production has gone down in Ukraine, so there’s going to be a shortage of wheat and commodities that they’ve been producing there, as well.
Food Insecurity in America
The coming food shortage threatens to exacerbate food insecurity in America.
As the cost of necessities rises in even the wealthiest countries, a top expert in global health has warned that food shortages could cause the next global health crisis.
If authorities don’t take the necessary precautions, a food scarcity could be just as fatal as an airborne pandemic like the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Peter Sands, executive director of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria.
According to Sands, governments must prepare for a more complex beast than during the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not as well-defined as some brand new pathogen appearing with distinctive new symptoms. But it could well be just as deadly,” he said.
According to Sands, countries must improve their health systems to be ready for the effects of food shortages on public health.
However, not everyone has the same anxiety about access to food in the United States.
Reality of Shortage in America
Despite major disruptions to world agricultural markets, the United States remains a land of plenty compared to other vulnerable countries.
Will Masters, an ag economist at Tufts University in Massachusetts, believes that although the country has plenty of food, there is still room for significant agricultural economic reform.
High food prices at grocery stores will continue to cause pain, but the U.S. is unlikely to see an actual shortfall of food, Masters said.
America’s agricultural sector and food supply chain can be surprisingly resilient, partly because it isn’t a chain.
Retailers usually have a variety of vendors from which to choose, so if one can’t fulfill an order, another vendor is able to.
This system could be called a “supply mesh” or “supply chain-link fence,” Masters said.
“We do sometimes have empty shelves for specific things, but overall, food suppliers are very, very good at staying up all night and arranging the alternative source,” he said.
Adapting to these prices would be easier if other wars, weather problems, and supply chain issues hadn’t already driven food prices.
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The legal team at Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys wants to keep Americans up to date on issues that could affect their lives, such as food shortages. Although personal injury is our specialty, our attorneys keep up to date on important recent issues that affect the nation. We also are proud to help our communities by offering scholarships and recognizing a teacher of the month.