Food Prices Jumped to Record High in December

Global food prices rose to a record high last month, overtaking even the levels seen during the 2007-2008 food crisis.

The UN Food and Agricultural Organization said its food price index rose to 214.7 points last month, an increase of almost 4.2% from November, according to The Financial Times. The index tracks the wholesale cost of commodities including wheat, corn and meats.

In 2007 and 2008, rocketing food prices caused riots in countries including Haiti and Bangladesh and helped boost inflation in many large economies.

Abdolreza Abbassian, senior economist with the FAO, said the current situation is "alarming" and warned "it will be foolish to assume this is the peak."

In developed economies, companies including McDonald's (MCD) and Kraft (KFT) have raised retail prices to cope with higher food costs.

The price of agricultural commodities has jumped after a series of poor harvests caused by adverse weather. The situation only got worse when major produces such as Russia and Ukraine imposed export restrictions.