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Food news from around the world

NZ food prices up 1.8 pct in January
Food prices in New Zealand rose 1.8 per cent in January, as fresh milk prices reached the highest level on record, 0.5 per cent above the previous record in November. Ninemsn

China seeks to ease food fears
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao sought to calm global concerns about the impact of severe droughts on China’s grain output and inflation, saying that the country’s supply of grain is basically in balance with demand and reiterating the government’s confidence that it can keep prices under control. The Wall Street Journal

Weakening Egyptian pound fuels rising food prices
Further weakness in the Egyptian pound will drive up the already-surging price of imported foods there, hampering efforts by the country’s embattled authorities to calm political tensions. The Wall Street Journal  

UK: The story of Northern Foods is a parable of supermarket power
A young Margaret Thatcher chucked in a job testing cake-fillings at a food manufacturer for a career in politics. Reginald Perrin, a 1970s sitcom character (pictured), faked his suicide to flee his life at a dessert-maker. Now investors in Northern Foods, a struggling firm based in Leeds, have been offered their own way out. The Economist

North Korea sends SOS to world to feed its starving people
In a dramatic and poignant sign of a state nearing collapse, North Korea has asked its embassies to appeal to foreign governments for aid to feed a population close to starvation. The plea for help poses a major dilemma for the international community on how to deal with a totalitarian regime, which it accuses of developing a nuclear arsenal while, at the same time, facing massive and endemic deprivation. The Independent

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