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Beef prices are soaring. Is that bad?

“Meatflation” is here.

“Startlingly high” beef prices “are appearing in meat aisles across the country,” the tabloid Daily Mail reported on Tuesday, November 9, 2021, which is blaming supply chain backlogs, staffing shortages in processing plants, and social distancing rules in the plants (read story here).

Soaring grocery prices isn’t a new story. I posted about it (here) in August 2020. The safety measures in processing plants were (and arguably still are) necessary; I posted about plant workers dying from Covid-19 (here), also in August 2020. The Daily Mail doesn’t say those measures were unnecessary, but does echo meat industry complaints about Biden’s vaccine mandates, which sounds stupid because vaccinating workers should help, not hinder, production.

The Daily Mail story also alludes to a Russian cyberattack in June 2021 that “temporarily shut down five meat plants and wreaked havoc on the industry.”

Meat prices are in the news because of a USDA report released on Friday, November 5, 2021, that says the price of bone-in ribeye steak has increased by 95% since November 2020, from $8.71 to $16.99 per pound. This is an average retail price; meat prices vary locally and by seller.

It occurs to me, and should to you too, that the average single-mom waitress or retail worker doesn’t live on ribeye steak or feed it to her kids. Ribeye steak is a luxury beef cut enjoyed by affluent households. Moreover, it’s the only beef cut up that much, which suggests other factors are at play in beefing up (pun intended) demand for that particular cut. Other beef products aren’t up nearly as much (chart below). Ordinary hamburger is up about 20%.

But why is that a problem? You shouldn’t be eating beef in the first place. I quit years ago when my doctor warned me beef is “a killer.” It causes cholesterol, clogs arteries, and leads to heart attacks. What’s more, beef farming is a significant contributor of the greenhouse gases causing climate change (see story here).

What’s more, chicken “is cheaper now than it was last year,” and only “marginally more expensive” than in 2019 before the pandemic, Daily Mail reports in the same article. Your local cows want you to eat chicken.

Your neighborhood chickens want you to go vegan. I haven’t done that, I’m a seafood eater. Fish oil is good for you, although mercury is not.

Look, we’re all going to die of something someday.

Cute picture (click to enlarge) courtesy of Chick-Fil-A, a fast food chain I don’t patronize because (a) fast food is bad for you, and (b) its owners are homophobic bigots who oppose same-sex marriage (details here); I’m not gay, but have friends who are, and anyway that’s beside the point, this is a human rights issue. 

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