Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Gluten-Free Foods vs. Ethanol Production

I just had this strange thought about the whole movement towards Ethanol-based fuel in this country, and how the demand for ethanol producing grains (like corn) has pushed corn prices up to record highs recently. I've been telling people for a long time that corn is not the answer to this nation's fuel consumption problems, since any corn diverted to produce fuel (ethanol) raises overall demand, and causes corn prices to rise.

Now, this may not sound too bad to the average person. Corn? I don't eat too much corn, so it will not affect me much. Well, we Celiac and Gluten-Free types may have a bit more direct interest in this matter, since there is a good chance we consume more cornstarch, corn meal / masa, popcorn, and other corn-based products, since it is safe for us to eat. And, what many overlook is that corn is one of the most common feeds used to raise chicken, pigs, and cows -- something nearly anyone aside from vegetarians will have a direct interest in.

I know this is a bit off topic and loosely tied to gluten-free foods, but it was just one of those thoughts that flashed through my mind when I was watching CNBC commodity prices recently. Perhaps rice will be next, or amaranth, or sorghum, etc. They are all used to produce alcohol, which is all that ethanol is. So, encourage wind and solar power so we don't raise demand for the only foods we can eat - I surely do not want to see a shortage of these "safe" grains in my future!


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