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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


Join The Conversation
cheekyredhead cheekyredhead 7 years
There is a difference between being prepared and panicked. Americans generally do not go hungry. Once you have traveled abroad it is laughable to think people here can get so worked up over the "what=ifs" when they should be thinking about education. That is preparation for life. Food...most people are not even aware of what they can eat which grows in their own backyards. Seriously--Dandelion and nasturtium salad is marvelous. Cactus pears are tasty! I guess if buying a bag of rice makes you feel better than go get one. Me--I think I'd go for a bit more variety.
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
I always have enough around for a couple weeks. And about waste, I agree with the poster above who commented that we are a wasteful society. Restaurants are the worst with their huge entrees. I grabbed a BLT on the fly today from my local co-op and it was large enough for two! I love leftovers, but a person who didn't would likely throw part of the sandwich away.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
OMG I did buy a huge ole bag of PRUNES the other day. It was just to good a value to pass up and prunes are a yummy snack. I'm a HOARDER!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
I restocked my pantry after a long drought of barrenness. But I have no extra room to stockpile rice or other perishable goods. My walk in closet is packed with toilet paper and maxi-pads and I'm happy.
asilgrif asilgrif 9 years
Honestly, we've always tried to keep a couple of days supply of non-perishable food and bottled water in the pantry. But this has nothing to do with this 'food shortage' that the media has been trying to scare everyone with. It's just common sense really.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
Gosh, I hate rice anyways, gross, I never eat that stuff. :shrug: I have no clue, but I agree with skinny, we could learn a lesson about wasting food thats for sure, and I too could live for a couple weeks on the food I already have in my house. I kept waiting for a snow storm to happen the past two years so I could sort of use up some of my stuff, but that just hasnt been happening in my part of the world lately.
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Really! We should always have food stocked, thats just logics, but I do think US citizens are getting a little paranoid.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i can understand the fear and anxiety that some people have about the shortages that are talked about all the time but to go out and over do it - you're really not doing yourself any good since you know that you'll just end up donating or throwing out things. i think that there are limitations to what you should keep around - and the list above makes sense i guess.
Brooklynbee Brooklynbee 9 years
I couldn't stockpile food even if I wanted to - I don't have the space. My mom used to stockpiled canned goods in her basement - when she sold the house a few years ago and I was helping her clean up, we were throwing out cans that had expired back in 1985!!
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 9 years
I think this is a bit over exagerated. This country could also start by wasting less food and not thinking that they need so much. My pantry could by survival for a couple weeks, and its practically empty.
RosaDilia RosaDilia 9 years
Well, I was working on my grocery list the other day and was serioulsy looking at canned items that I rarely buy just in case we go into a serious food crisis. Certainly the rice issue caused a bit of a concern at home since rice is an everyday staple in our house. My parents are actually buying a bag of rice every other day.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Makes me want to get my list and pile in order.
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
I don't think this is a bit overboard.
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