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Originally published September 1 2014

Ground beef prices hit all-time high in US

by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Disingenuous claims by the Obama Administration of widespread economic recovery are blighted by new data recently put forth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). According to the latest figures, the average price of ground beef in the U.S. has now reached $3.884 per pound, the highest amount ever recorded.

Over the course of just one year, the average price of ground beef has jumped by more than 12 percent, based on the figures, up from $3.459 per pound last July. This represents a more than 42-cent increase per pound, an amount staggeringly higher than the typical inflation rate. And since 2009, the average price of ground beef has risen by an unprecedented 81 percent.

The consumer price index, which uses a numerical series to measure movements in food costs, has also risen dramatically in recent years. For ground beef, the seasonally adjusted uncooked ground beef figure was 270.724, which means that ground beef has risen in cost by more than 170 percent since the reference period of 1982-84. This is down just slightly from the all-time high of 271.726 in June.

The consumer price index is a "tool that simplifies the measurement of movements in a numerical series," explains the BLS. "An index for 110, for example, means there has been a 10-percent increase in price since the reference period."

Back in 1947 when the BLS first began tracking this index, ground beef clocked in at a mere 26.5. Today, that figure has multiplied by a factor of about 10, showing how dramatically the price of ground beef has escalated compared to average wages. And this is true in almost all food categories, based on the data.

"The food index rose 0.4 percent in July, its fifth increase at least that large in the last 6 months," said the BLS. "The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs has increased 7.6 percent over the [last 12 months] and the index for dairy and related products has risen 4.3 percent."

Infamous 'pink slime' making comeback as beef prices soar

A perpetually dry West, where much of the nation's cattle is raised, is largely to blame for the cost increases, as are rising grain costs. And interestingly enough, a beef filler product that made the news back in 2012 for its pink, soft-serve-like texture -- lean finely textured beef, or "pink slime" -- is now making a comeback amidst rising beef prices.

Though it takes actual beef to make "pink slime," the costs associated with producing it are much less than with using real beef cuts. Demand for beef products remains high, despite rising costs, yet for economic reasons, pink slime is also making a surprising comeback. Beef Products Inc., one of the nation's largest producers of pink slime, recently reopened one of its shuttered plants and is starting to produce more of it to use as beef filler, a move that at least one expert says is not actually being driven by consumer demand.

"The demand is not coming from consumers... consumers have not changed their mind [on pink slime]," stated Patty Lovera, assistant director at the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch, to Yahoo News. "It's economics."

According to reports, pink slime is made using lean, edible beef trimmings that are otherwise discarded. These meat scraps are treated with ammonium hydroxide to kill pathogens and then blended into a slurry that is mixed with actual beef cuts, constituting up to 10 percent of the "meat" in a pack of ground beef.

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