‘Food Shortages Are Starting to Become Quite Serious All Over the Planet’

On February 7 2023, a @zerohedge tweet (featuring a blog post titled “Food Shortages Are Starting To Become Quite Serious All Over The Planet”) attracted thousands of views:

That tweet followed a number of claims alluding to a shadowy conspiracy reportedly targeting the food supply chain in the United States in early February 2023:

Fact Check

Claim: February 2023 ZeroHedge blog post accurately explains global “food shortages” in early 2023.

Description: A blog post claims that food shortages are becoming serious globally, and suggests these shortages are pointing towards an imminent global collapse.

Rating: Decontextualized

Rating Explanation: Though there have been documented food supply chain disruptions and localized food shortages, the claim overly generalizes various separate incidents and takes them out of context to present a sensationalist viewpoint aligned with the author’s belief in an imminent global collapse. Thus, it’s misleading.

The February 7 2023 ZeroHedge blog post was aggregated from a different source — a February 2 2023 entry on a site calling itself “The Economic Collapse Blog.” Media Bias/Fact Check maintained a page for ZeroHedge.com itself, categorizing the site as “conspiracy-pseudoscience”:


Sources in the Conspiracy-Pseudoscience category may publish unverifiable information that is not always supported by evidence. These sources may be untrustworthy for credible/verifiable information; therefore, fact-checking and further investigation is recommended on a per article basis when obtaining information from these sources. See all Conspiracy-Pseudoscience sources.

Overall, we rate ZeroHedge an extreme right-biased conspiracy website based on the promotion of false/misleading/debunked information that routinely denigrates the left … On 02/15/2022, U.S. intelligence officials accused Zero Hedge of amplifying Kremlin propaganda targeting Ukrainians and taking direction from Russian spies. Zero Hedge denies the claim.

In February 2023, The Economic Collapse Blog published several entries on a range of subjects, almost exclusively fearmongering and doomerism. Headlines from late January and early February 2023 included “The Giant Earthquakes That We Just Witnessed In Turkey Are Just The Beginning …,” “You May Want To Vomit After You Read About The Unspeakable Evil That Is Happening All Over America Right Now,” “Don’t Be Stupid – The U.S. Economy Actually LOST 2.5 Million Jobs Last Month,” and “We Just Witnessed An Economic Sign That Hasn’t Happened Since The Peak Of The Great Depression In 1932.”

As for the post itself, it began with a vague reference to “many of the experts” and an “emerging global food crisis,” and inaccurately framed food supply reporting from Reuters as an admission:

The worst case scenario that many of the experts feared is starting to play out right in front of our eyes. Throughout 2022, I repeatedly warned my regular readers that there were all sorts of indications that the emerging global food crisis would go to entirely new level in 2023, and that is precisely what is happening. In response to tightening supplies of food, prices are surging all over the planet and the number of desperately hungry people is exploding. Unfortunately, this crisis is not going to be just temporary. As I will explain at the end of this article, the global nightmare that we are facing is inevitably going to intensify in the years ahead.

For example, Reuters is admitting that the hunger crisis in Africa has now become “bigger and more complex than the continent has ever seen”…

The post linked to December 2022, January 2023, and February 2023 news stories about various food-related disruptions on a global scale. Sources included the Reuters article, a DW.com video about wheat shortages in Pakistan, and a January 2 2023 New York Times article (“How Russia’s War on Ukraine Is Worsening Global Starvation”), excerpting the portion italicized below:

An enduring global food crisis has become one of the farthest-reaching consequences of Russia’s war, contributing to widespread starvation, poverty and premature deaths.


The United Nations World Food Program estimates that more than 345 million people are suffering from or at risk of acute food insecurity, more than double the number from 2019.

“We’re dealing now with a massive food insecurity crisis,” Antony J. Blinken, the U.S. secretary of state, said last month at a summit with African leaders in Washington. “It’s the product of a lot of things, as we all know,” he said, “including Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.”

The food shortages and high prices are causing intense pain across Africa, Asia and the Americas. U.S. officials are especially worried about Afghanistan and Yemen, which have been ravaged by war. Egypt, Lebanon and other big food-importing nations are finding it difficult to pay their debts and other expenses because costs have surged. Even in wealthy countries like the United States and Britain, soaring inflation driven in part by the war’s disruptions has left poorer people without enough to eat.

In the excerpt above, “acute food insecurity” linked to a May 2022 World Food Programme (WPF) report, “Global Report on Food Crises: Acute food insecurity hits new highs.” That news release noted that among other things, its analysis “predates Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” indicating that the crises in question were not coming to the fore in 2023:

These worrying trends are the result of multiple drivers feeding into one another, ranging from conflict to environmental and climate crises, from economic to health crises with poverty and inequality as undelaying causes.

Conflict remains the main driver of food insecurity. While the analysis predates Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the report finds that the war has already exposed the interconnected nature and fragility of global food systems, with serious consequences for global food and nutrition security. Countries already coping with high levels of acute hunger are particularly vulnerable to the risks created by the war in Eastern Europe, notably due to their high dependency on imports of food and agricultural inputs and vulnerability to global food price shocks, it notes.

“Ravaged by war” (in the Times excerpt above) was also linked to previous reporting; it echoed the WPF’s claim that “conflict remains the main driver of food insecurity.” The linked previous reporting was an October 2018 New York Times interactive piece about war and famine in Yemen.

The Economic Collapse Blog also referenced a “very painful potato shortage” that has “gripped” Australia, linking to an article about a “chip shortage.” Once again, a brief glance at the source material led to mentions of a longer-range problem exacerbated by a changing climate:

Australian potato farmers are also struggling with the weather. Central regions to the production of processed potatoes in South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria were hit by extreme weather events in the past few months [in late 2022]. Existing crops were lost to floods, and planting new crops was significantly delayed.

The pain Australians are feeling now is not new to our neighbours in New Zealand, who had their own “chipocalypse” just a few years ago.

In 2017, up to 30% of New Zealand’s potato production in some areas was ruined by heavy rain.

The Economic Collapse Blog’s post was shared to Reddit’s r/collapse (a subreddit devoted to sincere discourse about “the potential collapse of global civilization”) on February 7 2023. Even on a subreddit seeking signs of “collapse,” commenters responded:

“This guy is a religious nutjob. Do we have a better source on this stuff?”

“He’s also been yelling that the sky is falling for well over a decade now. I can recognize his headlines with 99% accuracy at a glance; always sensationalist and over the top. And the schizo-Jesus rambling is just icing on the cake.”

“Yeah he is a hateful POS. He always blames ‘[our] leader’ but never seems to realize that some leaders are more responsible than others.”

“Yeah, why does anyone post his articles here? It just undermines the subs reputation[.]”

“It can be a real let down when an article starts off strong with good writing, well sourced material, only to change tack towards quoting bible versus. Just kills the vibe for me.”

Two of the quoted comments mentioned proselytizing by the post’s author, presumably due to an “About the Author” section at the bottom of the post. It “strongly” urged readers to “invite Jesus Christ” as their “Lord and Savior today,” and revealed a strong pre-existing bias toward “end times” and an imminent “apocalypse”:

About the Author: My name is Michael and my brand new book entitled “End Times” is now available on Amazon.com. In addition to my new book I have written six other books that are available on Amazon.com including “7 Year Apocalypse”, “Lost Prophecies Of The Future Of America”, “The Beginning Of The End”, and “Living A Life That Really Matters”. (#CommissionsEarned) … I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but I also ask that they include this “About the Author” section with each article.

The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is definitely a great help. These are such troubled times, and people need hope. John 3:16 tells us about the hope that God has given us through Jesus Christ: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you have not already done so, I strongly urge you to invite Jesus Christ to be your Lord and Savior today.

Broadly, the blog post claimed that “food shortages” were “becoming quite serious” in February 2023. We addressed several “food supply chain” rumors in 2022 and 2023, many of which aligned with claims in the post.

In May 2022 we examined a rumor that only “ten weeks” of wheat supply remained in storage globally, explaining that the claim was part of a larger array of global food supply disruptions:

In late May 2022, alarming headlines and tweets blared that the world only had “10 weeks of wheat” left in global reserves, predictably kicking up a ton of fearmongering discourse. The claim originated with a May 19 2022 address to the UN Security Council by Gro Intelligence chief executive officer Sara Menker. Menker’s speech was not about ten weeks of wheat left in global stores, but five large challenges affecting the food supply chain — fertilizer, climate change, cooking oil, grains, and logistics. Menker’s detailed commentary was condensed to the “10 weeks of wheat left” headline. Crop scientist Dr. Sarah Taber published a lengthy thread providing context on such claims and the role of incomplete reporting as a major stressor; her commentary received far less traction than fearful headlines.

In June 2022, we published a fact check addressing rumors that food processing plant fires were occurring with alarming frequency. We found that food “factory” fires were generally commonplace, but a variation of the claim emerged in late January 2023:

A February 7 2023 ZeroHedge.com blog post was titled “Food Shortages Are Starting To Become Quite Serious All Over The Planet,” and it originated on The Economic Collapse Blog on February 2 2023. Although the post linked to credible sources, it took them out of context to reflect the author’s stated belief in the looming collapse of civilization; the blog itself allowed others to republish its content “freely,” likely a primary reason it appeared on ZeroHedge.com. While supply chain disruptions and “food shortages” occurred intermittently from early 2020 onward, the blog post was fearmongering disinformation based on the views of its author, not on any specific event in February 2023.