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    Last-quarter 2008 Retail Food Prices Drop 1 Percent

    Apples experienced the steepest decrease, falling 29 cents to $1.51 per pound.

    The retail cost of 16 basic grocery items slipped about 1 percent in the last quarter of 2008, according to the most recent American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) Marketbasket Survey.

    The report noted that the price of the 16-item food basket fell to $48.19, down from $48.68 a quarter earlier, as reported in the High Plains/Midwest AG Journal. However, the prices were up 7 percent, compared with the first quarter of 2008.

    The marketbasket included a wide range of items, including fruit, dairy, meat and grains. Apples had the largest price decrease, dropping 29 cents to $1.51 per pound. Flour, cheddar cheese and bacon all had substantial price cuts. Small price decreases were found in whole milk, ground chuck, vegetable oil and potatoes. Rising prices were found in mayonnaise, toasted oat cereal, white bread, eggs and chicken fryers.

    Still, the price drops are marginal.

    "Food prices have not yet declined significantly, and may not for quite some time," Jim Sartwelle, an AFBF economist, told the Journal.

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