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Food: U.S. Achilles’ heel? link
Publishing date: 02.02.2006 22:20

The U.S. has been giving away a lot of food in recent years. So much food, in fact, has American given away that its own emergency food reserves are shockingly low.

There was a time, not too long ago, that by law the U.S. government was forced to maintain emergency food provisions for every man, woman and child in the country for three years.
That was considered good stewardship through much of the 1960s. It was a program put together by men who read the Bible and recalled the idea Joseph gave the Pharoah to avoid famine in the seven lean years.

But then the political winds of change began to blow through America. There were calls in Congress to bail out starving nations throughout the world. There were even actions to bail out America’s enemies – like the Soviet Union.

Within 20 years, the grain elevators were virtually empty – yet the amount of food given away as direct aid to foreign nations continued to increase.

By 1996, the U.S. Department of Agriculture claimed – and it was something of a hollow boast — that there was enough emergency food in storage to provide for every American in the cities for three days. The total was five days, the USDA said, for those in rural areas in the event of a national emergency.

Then came Sept. 11, 2001. There was talk of nuclear terrorism, biological and chemical weapons threats. America had seen that it was not invulnerable to massive, unforeseen attacks. Rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran were developing nuclear weapons and the missiles to fire them.

The Department of Homeland Security was formed and hundreds of billions were spent to make Americans feel safe.

But the food supply continued to dwindle.

By 2003, the USDA stopped counting in terms of “days” for emergency food supplies, because there was less than one day for every American. The new calculations were made not in terms of time, but in terms of pounds. They were made not in terms of how much food was actually stored and awaiting delivery, but rather how much was in the economy – including what was currently being harvested, what was on store shelves, what was en route in the transportation system.
The federal government claimed, under this new formulation, that there were 77 pounds of food per person in the U.S. at any given moment. Yet the number has continued to plummet more rapidly than ever before.

By September 2005, there were only 15.7 pounds of food for every American. That represented an 80 percent decrease in just two years.

According to USDA figures analyzed by Alan Guebert of the Farm & Food Report, the decrease gets worse every day. Of the 15.7 pounds of emergency food per person, 11 pounds consists of unprocessed wheat – of questionable value in times of emergency. The rest consists of non-fat dry milk, cheese, corn, peanuts and lentils.
Even after the Katrina disaster, almost no one is talking about food supplies in America.

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