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Food Crisis? Not According to What's on a US Plate

Food Crisis? Not According to What's on a US Plate


There has been a lot of finger pointing about what's to blame for the global food shortage. Some claim global warming, or gobbling up certain foods for ethanol means less for eating, or just harvests coming up short. All of this may be true, but add to that the newest figures from the United States Agriculture Department from 2007 and Americans can point a fat finger at themselves too.

Ready for this? It's gut-check time: the Agriculture Department states that while one Indian eats roughly 392 lbs of grain in a year, a US citizen eats 2,306 lbs. — over five times greater. Yup. And it's not just Indians — US citizens also eat twice the amount of an EU citizen and three times the amount of someone living in China. To see the specifics, read more.

In terms of meat consumption, the US leads the world per capita by a beefy mouthful. In America it is 94 lbs per person compared to 3.5 lbs in India and 13 lbs in China. True a significant portion of Indians are vegetarian, but even in liquid milk consumption Americans use 172 lbs per year for each person while India has 79.3 lbs and China 24.2 lbs.

As for African grain and milk consumption, both are as low as one might expect given the political and economic woes that continually plague the continent. In 2007, foodgrain consumption was 357 lbs per year for each person and as for meat or milk products, the figures were too insignificant to count.

What factors are behind the discrepancies in these numbers? Do US eaters have an obligation to cut down on their chowing down? Should the US government step in to help equalize what's on the global menu?

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