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Food Security Levels Seen Lower by EIU on Rising Prices

Food security levels declined in 98 out of 105 countries between June and September because of rising food prices, the Economist Intelligence Unit reported.

The score for affordability of food dropped to 50.5 on a scale of 100 from 53.2 previously, the researcher wrote in an e-mailed statement today. Hungary, Brazil, Argentina and Russia had the biggest drops in affordability of food on a combination of economic weakness and inflation, the unit wrote.

Global food prices have advanced 7.7 percent from June, according to the EIU. An index of 55 food items tracked by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization climbed to a six-month high in September.

“High and volatile food prices limit the ability of households to climb out of poverty,” Leo Abruzzese, director of global forecasting at the EIU, was cited as saying in the statement. Price swings “can make it more difficult for households to cope and can lead to a decline in purchasing power and calorie consumption,” he said.

Among the most undernourished countries, the biggest drops in food affordability were recorded in South Africa, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Botswana, according to the report.

The U.S. ranks highest for food security of the 105 countries tracked by the researcher, based on affordability, availability and quality and safety, followed by Norway and Denmark. The Democratic Republic of Congo scores the lowest, followed by Chad and Burundi.

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