Bacon prices rise as disease hits pork production

That extra slice of bacon is going to cost more than just your cholesterol.

Prices for the crispy treat rose 13% in February from a year earlier to $5.46 a pound, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which looked at average prices in cities nationwide.

Overall retail pork prices grew 7% in February from a year earlier to $3.73 a pound, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service.

The rising costs could be linked to a rare disease called porcine epidemic diarrhea, which is killing millions of pre-weaned piglets across the country.

The deaths could help explain why the nation’s hog and pig inventory was down 3% on March 1 from a year ago to 62.9 million head. The country had more than 68 million head in 2012.

U.S. pork production is expected to decline 6% to 7% this year as a result of the disease, the biggest drop in more than 30 years, according to Rabobank, an agricultural lender.

That will likely drive up prices for pork even more at a time when beef prices have hit an all-time high.


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