Food: Beefs About Beef

The average American this year will eat 170 Ibs. of red meat, and the typical family will spend at least 5% of its income to buy it. These superlatives—no nation eats or spends more—somehow do not make housewives and wage earners as happy as they should, and for good reason: the average price of a pound of choice beef, which seems to be what most Americans buy, is 810 v. 680 ten years ago.

Prices in general have gone up since then, of course, but meat presents a special paradox. While its price has. stayed high, the amount the rancher gets...

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