Iran and the High Cost of Lunch
The imposition of ever stricter sanctions on Iran over its civilian nuclear program has already spilled over in a big way against Iran’s private economy, though it has largely spared the public sector that it supposedly targets.
But we can add another side effect to the US and European sanctions: a spike in the price of German sausages. Unbeknownst to many Germans the popular Nuremberg bratwurst turns out to be intimately linked to Iranian trade, as the sheep intestines into which the sausages are stuffed come almost exclusively from Iran.
The sanctions have made food prices soar in Iran, and with the price of food rising, Iranians are eating a lot less meat, which means less sheep are being slaughtered for food, which means less sausage casings. The cost of the intestines has nearly tripled in the last year and a half.
And like any other halfway famous food in Europe, the EU regulates the absolute piss out of what a Nuremberg Bratwurst has to include. This means that switching to vegetable-based casings or some other alternative simply isn’t an option, and the price of the city’s beloved bratwurst is expected to rise in response to its increased production costs.
The reports downplay the seriousness, as well they might. Its just bratwurst, after all, and Germans can readily afford to pay more for them.
Rather, the story is indicative of how Iran’s economy is linked to the rest of the world’s, and the continued destruction of trade ties with Iran is going to continue to crop up in more and more unexpected ways, some minor, and some not so minor.