Apple-ied Logic

I don’t make a habit out of eating food with an expired freshness label; it just happens.  For instance, recently I was enjoying a delicious Chocolate Almond Biscotti which came from Trader Joe’s.  I have had the bag sitting around for awhile and you know how time can slip by.  Anyway, I happened to notice on the bottom a suggestion that the contents would be “best before April 2010.”  Good thing I didn’t read that before I ate it!  Mind you, the little morsel was pretty good and it set me to wondering just how much better it could have possibly been a year or so ago.  Obviously Biscotti doesn’t need such a subtle warning; I mean, how can you hurt something that by nature is already desiccated?  I suppose that’s the thing about a lot of the food we eat, eh?

We all may want to get used to eating hardier food.  The United Nations says world food prices hit a new all-time high in 2010, driven upwards in part by soaring prices of dairy products, sugar, and grains.  Combine a young, hungry, impoverished population where a day’s wages average two dollars and you have the tinder for flare-ups like we’ve seen in Egypt.  But they are not alone.  Such conditions also describe conditions throughout a large swath of the Middle East and Asia.  When basics like wheat and rice start becoming scarce as demand soars with population growth, anomalous weather patterns wreak their own havoc on supply, and price increases push essentials beyond the reach of ever more people, we will inevitable see further revolutions.  There is no guarantee that they won’t someday come here to roost as well.

All nations will likely find it expedient to feed their own population before exporting crops elsewhere.  Here in the U.S. we may even decide it is better to allow other nations on the brink of starvation to eat our excess corn rather than dumping it into our cars as a fuel supplement.  The global food chain is growing ever more complex.  Consider this.  I have an Ocean Spray apple juice bottle on my desk which advises that its contents include “concentrate from Germany, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Argentina, Chile, China, Turkey, Brazil and the United States.”   How our own larder gets replenished may be a mystery now, but could develop into a source of international friction at the current pace.