The Truth is Powerful
Condiment Crisis! Climate Change Is Causing Mustard Shortage
Ichauvel / Getty Images The last time Dijon mustard was in the news, it was the big 2009 controversy of the Obama administration when Fox News attacked the then-president for putting French Dijon on his cheeseburger instead of ketchup like real Americans. Quel scandal!
Today, the scandal is that the former president might have to go without: There is no French mustard available anywhere; the mustard makers of Burgundy can’t get any mustard seed.
Blame Canada. But also, blame the climate.
Mustard makers get most of their seed from western Canada. Food economist and distribution expert Sylvain Charlebois of Dalhousie University—known to Treehugger readers for his conversations with Katherine Martinko —tells The Star , “The harvest for mustard in Canada wasn’t great last year. So that’s been a challenge.”
The backup mustard seed supplier is Ukraine.
France24 reported production was down 28% in 2021 and that “when Canada coughs, it’s Burgundy, 7,000 kilometres (4,350 miles) away in central France, that catches a cold.” Local seed production has fallen by two-thirds because of changes in the local environment including a lot more insects eating the mustard. The president of the Association of Burgundy Mustard Seed Producers (APGMB) complains, “Sometimes, there is no production […]