Beef prices have risen 14 percent this year and will likely climb higher, according to experts. No, there is no cow shortage, but there may be some price gouging going on. It's not just beef. Pork prices are up by 12.1 percent and poultry by a whopping 6.6 percent.

Fox Business reports that National Economic Council Director Brian Deese addressed the rising prices at a press briefing on Wednesday.

 

"Just four large conglomerates control the majority of the market for each of these three products [beef, pork and poultry], and the data show that these companies have been raising prices while generating record profits during the pandemic," he said.

Supply chain issues due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increased demand are only a part of the problem. Fox Business reported the Biden Administration believes profiteering may be occurring.

"The administration is "taking bold action to enforce the antitrust laws, boost competition in meat-processing, and push back on pandemic profiteering that is hurting consumers, farmers and ranchers across the country," Deese said.

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Inflation continues to be a problem and as a result, food prices could continue to increase in the months ahead. With the rising cost of gasoline – now $3.09 per gallon on average in Massachusetts – and the highest prices for natural gas that we've seen in years, many in the New Bedford area could struggle to make it through the winter.

The Biden Administration needs to step up its efforts to investigate the sharply rising cost of food and address supply issues to determine if, in fact, unscrupulous suppliers are profiteering off the backs of COVID-weary consumers. That would be the worst kind of sleazy.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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