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Food fight: White Castle vs biofuels

Posting in Energy

Taking a bite out of biofuels. White Castle and other chains say that corn-based biofuels are driving up food prices.

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U.S. chain restaurants and a group of congressmen are launching an assault against biofuels on the grounds that fuel produced from crops like corn are pushing up food prices.

At a press conference on Capitol Hill this Thursday, the president of burger chain White Castle will join the owner of a Wendy's franchise and other meat movers to demand the repeal of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

The RFS requires transportation fuels to contain a minimum complement of renewables. That includes ethanol which is produced from corn, a crop that has long fed the cattle that the food industry turns into burgers and steaks that groups like White Castle and Wendy's sell.

In a media advisory announcing the Thursday press conference, the National Council of Chain Restaurants (NCCR) said:

"The federal RFS mandate drastically manipulates the corn marketplace and increases commodity and food costs across the supply chain – from farmers and chain restaurants to consumers and diners. NCCR, along with other coalition partners and Members of Congress, will hold a press conference to launch 'Feed Food Fairness: Take RFS Off the Menu.' "

Speakers will include Lisa Ingram, president of White Castle; Mark Behm, who operates some 61 Wendy's outlet in Michigan; Steve Foglesong, a cattle producer and the former chair of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association; Robert J. Green, executive director of of the NCCR; and Congressmen Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia, and Jim Matheson, a Democrat from Utah.

White Castle almost certainly has the distinction of being the country's oldest burger chain, dating back as early as 1916 in Wichita, Kan., over two decades before McDonalds started in San Bernardino, Calif.

To this day, White Castle confounds some meat eaters and thrills others by offering square-shaped burgers rather than round ones. Whatever form consumers prefer, White Castle and its fellow meat marketers are hoping to take a bite out of the renewable fuel forces that they say are pushing up prices.

Photo from Dwstultz via Wikimedia

Why not consider methanol instead of ethanol?

Meanwhile up in the sky, and other alternatives to corn:

— By on June 17, 2013, 4:11 AM PST

Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure