Biofuels: The Impact on Food Availability and Quality
R. López-García. Logre International Food Science Consulting, Mexico City, Mexico. Cereal Foods World 52(4):211-212.
Global warming, climate change, and oil prices are finally appearing in the headlines, and their impact may be a lot nearer and more far reaching than what we think. The rush to what governments have assumed are “greener” technologies has had an immediate impact on the lifestyle of millions of people. As soon as the initiatives to adopt these technologies were announced, the price of several basic food commodities such as corn skyrocketed. In addition, the use of corn and other basic food commodities for production of combustibles not only has an impact on the price, but also on the availability of these commodities that are a staple for millions of human beings. Moreover, if these products are scarce, then the lack of food availability may push the most vulnerable populations into consuming very low quality products or worse. Companies may have to lower their standards to have access to these basic ingredients. If the use of staple grains for fuel production will be a continuing trend, then new technology for food production and control is going to be needed. Is biotechnology the answer? It may be one of the approaches used to improve commodity yield and quality; however, its use must be partnered with responsible control and appropriate regulations.