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The worst winter freeze in 60 years in the southwestern United States and Mexico destroyed more than 4.4 million tons of corn and more than 80 percent of exportable produce. The vegetable and fruit shortage is causing food prices to surge.
“Bell peppers, for example, went from $14.95 a box to $48. Roma tomatoes from $8.95 to about $32,” Nogales International reported.
Not able to keep up with the rising prices, some stores have been unable to honor prices previously advertised in local newspapers, news station KGW reported.
A food store general manager in Portland, Oregon, said it was the worst produce situation he has experienced in 25 years: “We’ve had to double and triple some prices and consumers come in and it’s quite a shock to them” (ibid.).
Experts predict the produce shortage and accompanying rising prices could last until April.