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Should You Start Stockpiling Food?

Between last week and today there's been plenty of media chatter about food hoarding and evidence that some consumers are stockpiling non-perishables, particularly bags of rice. If your local Costco is taking measures against this type of behavior and preventing you from clearing their rice stock, it's just one tiny piece of a more serious food crisis that many parts of the world are facing. The threats to this country's food supply and shortages that could be in the future have caused opinions surrounding the issue to surface left and right.

Economics Professor Bill Knudson suggests that stockpiling hurts everyone and commented, "The thing about stockpiling is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The easiest way to raise food prices is if everybody went out and stockpiled food." On the other hand, Wall Street Journal columnist Brett Arends figures that because food prices are rising faster than your savings account is growing due to low interest rates, you're better off buying "non-perishable foods like pasta and canned foods ahead of time and in bulk."

While socking away multiple 20-pound bags of rice isn't necessarily productive, there are certain items the Department of Homeland Security says you should have on hand in case of an emergency like a natural disaster. To see their list just

Their recommended three day supply of food includes the following items.

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables
  • Protein or fruit bars
  • Dry cereal or granola
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried fruit
  • Nuts
  • Crackers
  • Canned juices
  • Non-perishable pasteurized milk
  • High energy foods
  • Vitamins
  • Food for infants
  • Comfort/stress foods


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