The production of ethanol from corn has had minimal, if any, impact on consumer food prices, a study in the US has claimed.


According to a report from Ethanol Across America education campaign, the price of corn has almost doubled in the past year, while food costs in the US have increased by just 2%.


The rise in food prices is less than their historical average of 2.9% per year, the study claimed.


Senator E. Benjamin Nelson, chairman of the campaign, hailed the report “as a calm voice in a debate that has become confused due to misinformation”.


The report claimed that ethanol production is key in reducing US dependence on overseas oil.


“While it is not a silver bullet, and never intended to be, through the ethanol programme we are addressing our most fundamental problem, which is that we are sending billions of dollars to foreign oil interests with nothing to show for it other than increased dependence on others for our transportation fuels,” said Douglas Durante, director of the Ethanol Across America campaign.


“Corn ethanol is one step towards energy independence and it is a step that benefits all consumers.”


Some in the food industry have warned, however, that the use of corn for biofuels could push up food prices.


Earlier this month, Nestlé chief Peter Brabeck-Letmathe cited the use of crops in biofuels as a factor in what he called the “significant and long-lasting” rise in food prices ahead.