Q: A recent article in Time stated that 10 million pounds of maple syrup — or $30 million worth — was stolen from Quebec’s strategic reserve. Can you look into this maple syrup reserve? I’ve heard of oil reserves. How do you steal $30 million worth?
—Tom Brayton, Sharpsburg
A: Quebec’s maple syrup reserve is managed by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers, which has about 10,000 members and “is responsible for the administration of the bulk maple syrup sales agency as well as the global strategic maple syrup reserve,” NPR.org reported. The theft worries the federation because Quebec produces about two-thirds of America’s syrup and between 70 and 80 percent of the world’s supply, and U.S. producers endured “catastrophic” harvest this season, the article stated. The thieves hit a warehouse northeast of Montreal and siphoned the syrup into containers.
Q: Why are eggs so expensive right now? They are about $2 or $3 a dozen. Is there a shortage of eggs or hens?
—Rick Brewer, Smyrna
A: Several factors, including this summer’s severe drought across the U.S. and high gas prices, drive the cost of the eggs and other food items, including milk, beef, poultry and pork. The U.S. Department of Agriculture this summer said consumers can expect to pay 3 to 5 percent more for groceries in 2013. The USDA said the drought limited the amount of feed that was grown to be consumed by animals, which means farmers have to pay more to feed their animals.
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