Recent food riots and famine warnings in response to soaring world prices for food staples are only a taste of graver problems to come, the Guardian reports. Food price inflation is at record levels, and global food reserves are at their lowest in 25 years, according to a United Nations report. From Russia to Latin America, the threat of food-related political instability is escalating.
"I do not think we should panic, but we should be very careful," a UN official warned. Record oil prices, the switch to biofuel crops that divert production from food, and increasing demand from China and India have combined to spark skyrocketing grain prices. The pressures of a growing world population, an upswing in extreme weather, and ecological strain threaten to aggravate the crisis, experts warn.