Posts Tagged ‘food prices’

The Indirect Connection Between Egypt and the Prices on Your Menu

February 22, 2011

Unless you’ve been living in a cave somewhere, you must have heard by now about the unrest in Egypt and how the government there is under siege from the populous. However, what you may not be aware of is that the problems in the Middle East have the potential to rock the restaurant industry here in the United States as well. Here’s what you need to know.

The Real Reason the Unrest Started Now

For all that the Egyptians yearn to be free, they’ve been living under an oppressive regime for a very long time. This therefore begs the question – why now? What is it that has made Tunisia and now Egypt finally begin to try to throw off their corrupt leaders? The answer it turns out is food insecurity.

Rising Prices for Commodities on World Markets

The Egyptian unrest stems in large part from the fact that world prices for food commodities, especially things like wheat have been soaring lately. In a poor country like Egypt, this can literally mean the difference between starvation and survival. However, here at home, the same economic forces can have a profound impact on the restaurant industry.

Be Prepared for Higher Prices for Raw Materials

Bottom line, we can expect to see prices of all kind of food products rising this year because of the world rise in commodities prices. This means in turn we either will have to absorb the difference in our menus or we’ll have to raise prices in order to stay afloat.

Either way, the unrest in Egypt indirectly means tougher times ahead for the restaurant industry because of the fact that we must (by definition) rely so heavily on raw materials to create the foods that we serve to our diners. This does not bode well for an industry which is just starting to pull out of the recession. What will happen? Who knows – stay tuned.

Pork Under Fire

October 18, 2010

Pork prices may start seeing a steady rise as new rules begin to go into effect that require less use of antibiotics on healthy animals. The practice, which has been routine for a very long time has been effective at keeping food prices down because animals stayed healthy and didn’t have to be destroyed before they could be slaughtered for food.

Superbugs Evolve

The problem however is that bacteria are pretty smart for bugs. They don’t just roll over and die. Instead, they mutate and become new strains of bugs which leads to the creation of what are known as “superbugs.”

Superbugs are bacteria that cannot be killed by any known method or which only respond to the harshest of medicines, medicines which may have nasty side effects when humans have to take them to ward off powerful infections.

New Guidelines Set to Be Published

The Food and Drug Administration has declared that they are considering changing their guidelines.  They will recommend dropping the widespread use of the medications in healthy animal populations, given the chance that the practice could lead to a human health crisis.

While the guidelines from the guidelines are voluntary, however, some pork producers are expecting that they may affect the price of meat and especially of pork, which can be prone to infection after the piglets are weaned from their mothers.

Stricter Regulation Demanded

However, many influential groups, including the American Medical Association and the Infectious Diseases Society of America are saying that the new guidelines are not good enough and are calling on Congress to pass a law forbidding the widespread use of the antibiotics in meat production.

Should such a bill pass, it could have an adverse affect on restaurateurs whose repertoire relies heavily on such products. Animal sickness could easily cause a shortage of some kinds of meat and cause prices to rise, farmers warn.

Specific Form of Antibiotics Targeted

Currently, the controversy revolves around a specific form of antibiotics which have been shown to help piglets grow faster, thus providing more and cheaper meat for American restaurants and homes. However, other forms of antibiotics may be targeted in the future, causing potential price spikes for those who serve pork related products in their establishments.