FAIRFAX DISTRICT (CBSLA.com) — The price of beef has recently jumped dramatically.

Canter’s Deli on Fairfax said they’re seeing their bottom line sliced into.

“Corned beef and pastrami, they’re synonymous with deli. We serve 1,000 different things, but this is what keeps the doors open and the lights on,” Greg Dovell, who has worked at Canter’s for 30 years, said. “Prices probably will have to increase a little bit…but we’re holding the line for now.”

Beef prices nationally, the price people are likely to pay at the market, are at an all-time high: $5.06/pound.

At the same time, cattle levels have plummeted to levels not seen since the 1950s.

The cause? The drought that started two years ago in the south and west, which impacted feed supplies and limited the number of cattle.

Butcher Erika Nakamura, the co-owner of Lindy & Grundy, said she’s noticed the beef price spike just in the past few weeks.

“About 25 cents to 50 cents a pound and that can really kill you,” she said.

Nakamura’s shop works with California farmers.

“You only get whole animals, so it doesn’t apply in the same way as boxed beef and commodity beef does. That does become about 25, 35 percent,” she said.

CBS2’s Serene Branson said that can add up to several thousand dollars a month. The butcher shop normally buys two to three steer per week to supply local restaurants and hotels, but they haven’t been able to do that.

“That’s where the major struggle is, is that our farmers just don’t have large enough and healthy enough animals,” Nakamura said.

Suppliers said large corporate restaurants, like McDonald’s, get the first shot at cheaper, available meat.

Quality is something Canter’s Deli, however, won’t skimp on.

“We’re either going to have to cut down the portions or the prices are definitely gonna have to follow suit,” Dovell said.


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