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USDA Forecasts 2012 Food-Inflation at 2.5% to 3.5%, Unchanged

March 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. consumers will pay 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent more for food in 2012, the Department of Agriculture said, holding to a forecast first made in July.

Beef and fish will post the biggest gains of any food category, each climbing as much as 5 percent this year, the USDA said today in a report on its website. The Bureau of Labor Statistics this month said expenses fell 0.1 percent in February. Food costs rose 3.7 percent last year, according to the USDA.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alan Bjerga in Washington at abjerga@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Steve Geimann at sgeimann@bloomberg.net; Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net

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