By Kevin McElroy

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -Last week in a fit of foolishness perhaps, I predicted we would experience food riots here in the United States sometime within the next 18 months.

I stand by my prediction, not because I especially like making predictions, but because I believe it's a distinct possibility.

And no sooner had the ink on last week's prediction dried, than the European Central Bank (ECB) released some very strongly worded warnings about food shortages in Europe.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal this morning, the ECB believes there is "significant uncertainty" about Europe's food supply.

Specifically, the ECB said, "There remains significant uncertainty about the extent and pace of the ability of supply to meet the expected rise in demand and thereby help to limit the rise in food prices."

I've long believed that what happens in the eurozone today is but a presage to what will happen here in the United States.

We should not expect the Atlantic Ocean will insulate us from higher prices for food, or even food scarcity.

I've had some folks question my prediction about a food crisis in the United States.

After all, we're still the bread basket to the world, they note. We produce more food than any other single country, and export more food than any other country.

How could we possibly starve in a land of plenty?

Here's how it happens: food prices rise as a simple function of higher oil prices, inflation, and scarcity brought on by Russian drought, Australian floods and a variety of other factors.

So far, so good. We can all afford to pay more for food, and we'll do it gladly. Higher-priced food means that there's a greater reward for producers to produce more food, investors to invest, and eventually new supply will lower prices.

But government can't abide higher prices on food. So President Obama will institute price controls. If you think that we couldn't possibly have food riots here in the United States, then you probably also believe that we couldn't possibly have price controls in the United States.

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