Harsh winter, leaner cattle boost beef prices

April 15, 2010 5:17:17 PM PDT
A harsh winter in the U.S. has led to leaner cattle, and that has caused a spike in beef prices.

The Department of Agriculture says beef and veal production is also down worldwide.

Cattle futures have risen more than 20 percent since December.

Wholesale prices for 90 percent lean ground beef are around $1.63 per pound, an increase of more than 32 percent from the 2009 low.

Prices for 50 percent ground beef are up nearly 31 percent.

Fast food chains and other restaurants may be forced to raise prices to offset those higher costs.