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Rising Cost Of Meats, Produce Affecting Some Local Businesses

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Be prepared for a shock if you haven’t bought meat the grocery store lately. Beef prices are way up.

“It’s been really tough,” said Jeff Cohen, owner of Weiss Provision Company, a meat wholesaler in the Strip District. “I mean this is the worst that I’ve ever seen it.”

“The price on briskets in the past 12 months is up 40 percent from a year ago,” added Cohen.

He also owns the Smallman Street Deli, where they reluctantly raised the price of a corned beef sandwich for the first time in five years.

He says he didn’t want to use less meat, so they were forced to change the price.

Cohen is not alone.

Two years of drought out West has drastically reduced the amount of cattle feed.

Beef prices nationally are at all time-high: $5.06 a pound.

The CFO of Chipotle on Tuesday announced that by summer, the Mexican food chain will begin charging more for its beef menu options.

The meat counter at Marty’s Market in the Strip, so far, seems immune to the rising beef costs.

“We haven’t really been affected much by it, and I think a big part of it is that all of our beef is coming from Pennsylvania,” said butcher John Orth.

But the drought is affecting them elsewhere, across the store where they sell organically grown fruit.

“Those products that we’re sourcing from out west, we’ve seen a doubling, if not – like in the case of limes – more than doubling,” said owner Regina Koetter. She says she’s now losing money on limes.

Limes from California are also affected by drought conditions, whereas growers in Mexico have reportedly reduced production because of unrest caused by drug cartels.

As for how high the beef prices will go? Cohen only says, “In general, there comes a breaking point. When gas gets to $4 a gallon, people quit driving.”

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