London: Cookies made of mud – that is what the poor in Haiti are being forced to eat, thanks to rising food prices in the Caribbean nation.

The biscuits, made from dried yellow clay mixed with water, salt and vegetable shortening or margarine, have become a staple for Haitians who are unable to afford even a plate of rice, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The cookies, known as “terre,” taste smooth but suck out the moisture from the mouth as soon as they touch the tongue, leaving an unpleasant earthy aftertaste that lingers for hours.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation recently declared a state of emergency in Haiti. According to the U.N. agency, food prices have gone up by almost 40 per cent in the wake of floods and crop damage caused by hurricanes.

Haitian doctors say people who depend on the biscuits for sustenance risk malnutrition. Dr. Gabriel Thimothee, executive director of the Health Ministry, said: “Trust me, if I see someone eating those cookies, I will discourage it.” — PTI