Supermarket prices jumped another 1% in April, led by sharply higher costs for chicken, dairy products and eggs, and are up 10.8% over the past year, according to the latest Consumer Price Index.
The continued food inflation helped fuel a 0.3% increase in the CPI for April, helping offset a decline in energy costs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The overall CPI is up 8.3% for the 12 months ending in April, which was an improvement over the 8.5% increase for the 12-month period ending in March.
Grocery prices had increased 1.5% in March and 1.4% in February after rising 1% in January.
The price of eggs shot up 10.3% in April, the largest single increase in April for any food category, while prices for chicken rose 3.4%. The poultry industry has been rocked by an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza that has resulted in the loss of more than 37.5 million birds across 34 states.
Pork and seafood prices also rose during April, pushing the overall index for meats, poultry, fish and eggs up 14.3% over last year, which is the largest 12-month increase since May 1979.
The price of milk jumped 3.1% in April, while cheese prices were up 2.1%. Butter prices were up 3.7%
President Joe Biden is visiting a farm in Illinois Wednesday to draw attention to food inflation and blaming it on the impact of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
"While it is heartening to see that annual inflation moderated in April, the fact remains that inflation is unacceptably high," Biden said in a statement on the overall CPI.
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He is announcing several measures intended to increase production and reduce ag input costs: USDA will double the amount of funding for domestic fertilizer production to $500 million, increase technical assistance for adoption of precision agriculture methods and insure double cropping in 681 additional counties, bringing the total eligible counties to 1,935.
Biden has been steadily attacking meat processors for inflation, but the price of beef actually declined 0.9% in April. Pork prices rose 0.6%, led by a 2.1% in the cost of bacon and sausage.
Prices for fruits and vegetables were down 0.3% in April.
The top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, Mike Crapo of Idaho, said the April CPI shows "runaway inflation is not contained and a slight, one-month dip downward is no cause for celebration, as Americans continue to feel the pain of broad-based and rapid price increases. With increasing risks of a recession and rising mortgage rates, this is no time to resurrect failed tax-and-spend proposals that will only cause further economic damage.”
Biden said Republicans "talk about inflation, but their only plan is to raise taxes on working families, taking even more money out of their pockets. If they are serious about inflation, they should send me the bipartisan innovation bill to bolster our supply chains and make more in America, along with legislation that cuts costs and the cuts the deficit, reducing families’ prescription drug and utility bills and restoring fairness to our tax code."
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