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Food Costs Rising Fastest in 17 Years

April 15, 2008

The U.S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years, and analysts expect it to only get worse. U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the agency says 2008 could be worse, with a rise of as much as 4.5 percent. For the poor, any increase in food costs sets up an either-or equation: Give something up to pay for food. For the poorest U.S. families, the higher costs may mean going hungry. A family of four is eligible for a maximum $542 a month in food stamps, which has never lasted the whole month, and now will last for even fewer days. And some economists believe that higher food prices may be here to stay.

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