by Marion Nestle
Jun 25 2010

FAO: Let’s start regulating food commodity futures. Yes!

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), says, is proposing “limited” regulation of food futures.

“Limited” doesn’t go nearly far enough.  Food futures need regulation, big time.

In a policy brief, FAO attributes the recent crisis over food prices to speculation on food futures.  Futures trading drove up the prices of food staples—corn, rice, and wheat—to record levels.

Commodity futures speculation is a form of betting that prices will go up or down. In the United States, commodity speculation is regulated, but apparently not nearly enough.

If, like me, you find this kind of trading incomprehensible, help is at hand.

Read Fred Kaufman’s extraordinary piece in the July 2010 Harper’s Magazine: “The food bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it.”

And applaud FAO for at least taking a tiny first step to getting speculation in food under control.