USDA warns of sticker shock on U.S. beef as grilling season starts
By Ros Krasny
May 23, 2014
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Department of Agriculture has warned of sticker shock facing home chefs on the eve of the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the unofficial start of the U.S. summer grilling season.
The agency said conditions in California could have “large and lasting effects on U.S. fruit, vegetable, dairy and egg prices,” as the most populous U.S. state struggles through what officials are calling a catastrophic drought.
The consumer price index (CPI) for U.S. beef and veal is up almost 10 percent so far in 2014, reflecting the fastest increase in retail beef prices since the end of 2003. Prices, even after adjusting for inflation, are at record highs.
“The drought in Texas and Oklahoma has worsened somewhat in the last month, providing further complications to the beef production industry,” USDA said.