WASHINGTON – After finishing higher for two consecutive months, the Consumer Price Index for food and beverages finished flat in February, ending at 236.2, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The food index also was unchanged, ending at 236.3 in February.

The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs also increased during February, climbing 0.5 percent. The index was flat in January.

The overall Consumer Price Index advanced 0.7 percent in February after finishing flat for two straight months. Over the past 12 months, the index increased 2 percent.

Only two of the six major grocery store food group indexes increased in February, led by fruits and vegetables, which rose 1.4 percent. Both the fresh fruits and fresh vegetables indexes increased 1.8 percent during the month.

The index for cereals and bakery products, which increased 0.1 percent in January, fell 0.2 percent in February.

Also easing in the month was the index for dairy and related products, which fell 0.4 percent during the month, and other food at home, which declined 0.6 percent.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages, which declined 0.5 percent in January, was flat in February.