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Ohio Utica Shale

Fracking may start hurting American food makers

By Bob Downing Published: January 12, 2012

Fracking may start hurting  American food manufacturers including ice cream makers, according to the Wall Street Journal.

That's because drillers are using more guar gum, a thickener that comes from a plant grown in India and Pakistan.

The plant is also used by American food makers as a thickener in foods ranging from ketchup to ice cream to tortillas.

With the surge in fracking in Ohio and elsewhere, the demand for guar gum is growing. Concerns over the availability of guar gum are growing.

The desire for guar gum by drillers has driven up the price: from 50 cents a pound to more than $3 a pound.

Orrville-based Smith Dairy Products Co. has not detected a shortage of guar gum, said spokesman Lee Esposito.

The price of the thickener has increased in recent months, but so has the price that the company pays for other materials in the ice cream, he said.

The Wayne County company makes Smith's and Ruggles Premium ice creams.

Mitchell's Homemade Ice Cream with six shops in suburban Cleveland stopped using guar gum about a year ago, said co-owner Peter Mitchell.

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Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management State agency Web site.

ODNR Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management. State drilling permits. List is updated weekly.

ODNR Division of Geological Survey.

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

Ohio State University Extension.

Ohio Farm Bureau.

Ohio Oil and Gas Association, a Granville-based group that represents 1,500 Ohio energy-related companies.

Ohio Oil & Gas Energy Education Program.

Energy In Depth, a trade group.

Marcellus and Utica Shale Resource Center by Ohio law firm Bricker & Eckler.

Utica Shale, a compilation of Utica shale activities.

Landman Report Card, a site that looks at companies involved in gas and oil leases.FracFocus, a compilation of chemicals used in fracking individual wells as reported voluntarily by some drillers.

Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.

Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.

Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.

National Geographic's The Great Shale Rush.

The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.

Buckeye Forest Council.

Earthjustice, a national eco-group.

Stop Fracking Ohio.

People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.

Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.

No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.

Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.

Penn State Marcellus Center.

Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.

Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.