WASHINGTON – In February, retail meat prices jumped 9.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis when compared to February 2010, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistic’s monthly Consumer Price Index, the American Meat Institute said.

Pork prices increased 8.9% while beef and veal prices were up 10.6%; beef steaks climbed 8.6%; beef roasts rose 15.4%; and ground beef increased 10% from last year’s level.

Over the past year, the general “at home” food category has increased 2.8%, with all six of the major grocery store food groups posting increases.

“The increase in meat prices reported last week by BLS comes as no surprise to those of us in the meat and poultry industry and confirms what we’ve been saying for years,” said J. Patrick Boyle, AMI president and CEO. “While many variables contribute to the price of any food item, the soaring cost of corn due to ethanol production is one underlying factor that is driving up not only meat and poultry prices, but other food prices as well. This news is clear evidence that we should not be embracing a policy that burns 40% of our corn for fuel – it is burning a hole in Americans’ food budgets.”