NO PASTA FOR YOU! Italians are on spaghetti strike today, refusing to buy all pasta in protest of a 20 percent increase in consumer prices, caused in part by demand for wheat as a biofuel. The average Italian eats pasta once a day, or 61 pounds of the starchy goodness annually.
While Italians might be incensed over expensive orchiette, the biofuel bull market affects food supplies all over the world, and developing countries will be hit hardest. In Mexico, where many poor, rural people survive on a diet built around nutritious corn tortillas, the ethanol rush is responsible for tripling and quadrupling the price of food staples. And ethanol production has a dark side in the United States' food system as well; the more corn we grow, the more we subsidize growing corn, which has already led to the massive, obesity-causing overuse of corn syrup in our diet. It's all food for thought the next time you hear a presidential candidate wax eloquent on the wonders of ethanol.