Rice Rationing Hits Israel

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Rationing of rice by retail stores has spread as far as Israel since The New York Sun reported on the phenomenon in Northern California last week.

The Blue Square and Supersol supermarket chains have begun limiting purchases of rice, Israeli newspapers said yesterday. Supersol is restricting each customer to “three bags per type of grain product,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

Meanwhile, Asian grocery stores seem to be joining their larger wholesale-style competitors in curbing purchases. A supermarket chain which caters to Chinese Americans, 99 Ranch, is imposing two-bag-per-customer limits on most of its 20-pound and 50-pound sacks of rice, according to signs at its store in Cupertino, Calif. That store and others in the chain were selling rice without limitation a week ago.

Last week, Sam’s Club announced it was limiting customers to four bags of imported Jasmine, Basmati, and long grain white rice. Costco had imposed such limits earlier, though they were not widely known until the Sun’s report.

Trade associations for rice farmers and processors in America contend there is no shortage here, though prices for the grain have risen two to three times in recent months. However, there have been spot shortages of some of the imported varieties favored by immigrants and Asian restaurants, due in part to eateries stocking up to hedge against future price hikes or unavailability. Several big rice producing nations, including Vietnam and India, recently restricted exports to ensure supplies for their citizens.

By JOSH GERSTEIN
Staff Reporter of the Sun
April 28, 2008

Source: The New York Sun

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