London Telegraph 
Feb 3, 2011
Global food prices have hit a new record high, amid fears that the escalating cost of bread and meat is adding to the turmoil in the Middle East.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN FAO) gave warning that the high prices, already above levels in 2008 which sparked riots, were likely to rise further.
The FAO measures food prices from an index made up of a basket of key commodities such as wheat, milk, oil and sugar, and is widely watched by economists and politicians around the world as the first indicator of whether prices will end up higher on shop shelves.
The index hit averaged 230.7 points in January, up from 223.1 points in December and 206 in November. The index highlights how food prices, which throughout most of the last two decades have been stable, have taken off in alarming fashion in the last three years. In 2000 the index stood at 90 and did not break through 100 until 2004.