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California drought driving up food prices

Food prices have been rising in the past two and a half years, with the biggest monthly increase in February.
March 18, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
Food prices have been rising in the past two and a half years, with the biggest monthly increase in February. Beef and dairy products are having the biggest impact on shoppers, mainly because of the drought.

Food costs rose 0.4 percent last month. Beef prices jumped 4 percent, the most in more than 10 years. Milk, cheese and other dairy prices also rose.

Shoppers say they've noticed a gallon of milk has gone up between 35 to 50 cents a gallon in the past week.

According to the consumer price index, the government report that monitors the cost of living in the U.S., the drought is to blame for the jump in prices. A lack of water means it costs more to grow the feed used for cattle. That cost is ultimately passed on to consumers.

Meat and dairy aren't the only foods that cost more. Shoppers say food prices are going up across the board.

"The fruits are very expensive nowadays, and the vegetables too," said Ana Casas of North Hollywood.

Los Angeles resident Mohamed Imanke points out that getting to the store is getting more expensive as well, with regular gas averaging nearly $4 a gallon. He says when you add the higher cost of groceries, he's working more to make ends meet.

"You've got to put in those extra hours of work to make up for the prices going up," Imanke said.

Shoppers tell us they are clipping coupons and checking weekly specials so they can save a little money on their grocery bill.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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