Thursday, May 20, 2010

How low can they go on beef prices?

Beef Cuts - Where They Come FromImage via Wikipedia

Three supermarket circulars came with the newspaper this morning, offering beef for $1.47 to $5.99 a pound.

The A&P flier declares: "We will not be undersold!" USDA choice, boneless top round London broil is on sale for $1.47 a pound. Choice is one of the three grades U.S. agricultural officials assign to beef: prime, choice and select.

The Pathmark circular offers USDA choice New York strip steak for $4.99 a pound ("save up to $5 a pound").

At Fairway Market in Paramus, "whole, fully trimmed beef" for filet mignon is on sale for $5.99 a pound, but there is no indication whether this meat was raised in the U.S. or what grade it might be. Fairway usually features USDA prime beef in its circulars (prime has the most fat or marbling), but the absence of that phrase in today's circular might prompt you to ask questions at the store.

Only the Pathmark flier says anything about how the beef was raised. Its steaks are "Western grain fed." You can assume the beef sold by the three stores was raised conventionally with antibiotics, growth hormones and animal byproducts.

Contrast these sales with the $3.99 to $4.99 a pound charged by ShopRite  when it has a sale on free-range, grass-fed beef  from Australia. In March, A&P and Pathmark had Australian leg of lamb on sale for $1.99 a pound -- the lowest I had ever seen.
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