Some food prices climbed above levels explainable by the summer drought but no widespread price gouging of grocery shoppers has been found thus far, congressional investigators said Wednesday.
“Some price increases do appear higher than warranted by the drought alone,” Senate Agriculture Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said after receiving the report from the General Accounting Office.
After weighing the congressional investigative agency’s findings, however, he told a hearing of the committee that “in general, there do not seem to have been excessive price increases across a broad range of products that use the drought as an excuse.”
Retail pasta prices increased 10.4%, cereal 7.1% and white bread 8.2% from January through June, GAO officials told the Agriculture Committee. They said 43% of the pasta and cereal price rise and 57% of that for white bread came before June.
Pasta, cereal and white bread prices rose more between June and August than they did in the same period last year, the GAO said.