Was the Food Shortage Planned? Conspiracy Theories Surface

Mohit Oberoi, CFA - Author

Jun. 9 2022, Published 8:27 a.m. ET

For over two years now, consumers across the world have been witnessing supermarkets running out of food products. It was understandable in the initial days of the COVID-19 pandemic as global food production took a hit, especially packaged food products.

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While the pandemic has largely subsided globally, except for some parts of China, the food shortage situation seems to have only gotten worse. Some blame the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the continued supply chain woes for the shortages. However, others think there's a conspiracy behind the food shortage and that it was pre-planned.

There are numerous food shortage conspiracy theories.

Multiple conspiracy theories are floating around about the U.S. food shortage situation. For example, many ultra-conservatives believe that the Biden administration is deliberately creating a food shortage in 2022.

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Florida Rep. Kat Cammack shared images on Facebook to prove her point that the Biden administration was sending baby formula to immigrants at the border at a time when there was a nationwide shortage. Some conservatives see it as a sign of the administration’s “misplaced priorities.”

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Some like Brandon Judd, the president of the border patrol’s union, think that Biden intends to encourage immigration and change the demographics, which would help the Democrats win in the elections.

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Is there a conspiracy behind the baby formula shortage?

In reality, the Biden administration was lacking in its response to the formula shortage. Biden admitted that he didn't know of the severe the baby formula shortage was until April, which doesn't reflect well on the administration either.

However, the images of baby formula sent to the border don’t tell the true story. Baby formula has always been sent for babies detained at the border. One might argue that the administration should have stopped sending formula to the border amid the shortage but it wouldn't have helped matters much and would have created chaos at the borders.

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There are fake conspiracy theories that the Biden administration created food shortages.

While the story of sending formula to the border at least has some substance to it, there were incorrect rumors that U.S. Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack was arrested for being complicit in the food processing plant fires.

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Many see the multiple instances of food processing plant fires as signs that the food shortage was planned. Statistically, the fires in 2022 aren't much different from previous years. They're only getting more attention now due to conspiracy theories.

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Some saw a conspiracy behind even the derailment of a Canadian Pacific freight train carrying potash. The derailment came amid a global fertilizer shortage. The cause of the derailment is currently under investigation.

Bill Gates is also facing conspiracy theories.

Bill Gates somehow finds himself at the center of multiple conspiracy theories. Talking specifically about the planned food shortage, many see his massive farmland holdings as a sign that he's behind the planned food shortage.

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Gates is indeed the largest private farmland owner in the U.S. and his views (often misquoted) about genetically modified crops and population control might be at odds with some conservatives. However, he only owns about 0.03 percent of the total farmland in the U.S. and might not be in a position to create a food shortage.

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Gates’ investment in a company that's working on synthetic soya milk for babies has also fueled conspiracy theories. However, the investment was made a few years ago and the company hasn't started marketing the product yet.

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A DEF shortage conspiracy is also floating around.

Then we have the DEF shortage conspiracy and this time Warren Buffett and BlackRock “share the honor” for being complicit in creating an artificial DEF shortage in the U.S. A severe DEF shortage could ground the country’s fleet because diesel trucks wouldn't be able to run, which would add to the supply chain woes. However, even this conspiracy theory is false.

Was the food shortage planned?

There aren't any signs that the food shortage in 2022 was planned. There's a global shortage, which has been compounded by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s forces have hampered Ukraine's ability to export food products, which is adding to the woes.

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If there's a conspiracy, it's likely from Russia. The invasion hasn’t been going according to Putin’s original plan and is now in its fourth month. One way Putin can put pressure on the West is by crippling Ukraine’s food exports, which would endanger food security in Europe.

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Meanwhile, some social media users think that it isn't Putin but Biden who's causing the food shortage in the U.S. In the polarized world that we live in, some people believe this theory, even though it's false.

Another factor worth considering is that climate change, which former U.S. President Donald Trump sees as a “hoax,” is a bigger long-term concern for global food security than the supply chain issues and Putin’s belligerence that we're witnessing in 2022.


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