Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Food Riots, Historical Perspectives

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_397



As a wave of severe global crises swept across the world at the turn of the twenty-first century, a series of food riots broke out in many developing countries, including Indonesia, India, Mexico, and Brazil. These food riots, often centered on one iconic staple food item such as rice, tortillas, or onions, usually consisted of looting and pillaging stores, fast food restaurants, and supply depots, blockading farm and supply trucks, or protests in town squares. These items symbolized people’s intense frustration and anger at being trapped in a global economic web in which they seem to have no agency. Government officials have been rightfully terrified of the potential for anarchy that exists if people do not get enough to eat, particularly enough of certain foods deemed essential and irreplaceable. Can anything ever stem this tide of need?

Cultural historian Robert Darnton once posed...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Nutrition, Food Studies and Public HealthNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Food Studies, Food Chemistry, Food StudiesNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA