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Food Check-Out Day celebrates affordability

January 17, 2002

Information for the following article was provided by the California Farm Bureau Federation

Looking for a bargain? Look no farther than your grocery store shelf or favorite restaurant because food is affordable in America. In fact, according to the Imperial County Farm Bureau, between Jan. 1 and Feb. 8 the average American will have earned enough income to pay for his or her family's entire 2002 food supply.

Feb. 8 has been proclaimed Food Check-Out Day by the Imperial County Farm Bureau. Statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service show American families and individuals spend, on average, just 10.6 percent of their disposable personal income for food.

Applying the 10.6 percent statistic to the calendar year, it means the average household will have earned enough disposable income — that portion of income available for spending or saving — to pay for its annual food supply in just 39 days.


California farmers and ranchers contribute mightily to our way of life as Farm Bureau's Food Check-Out Day demonstrates.

Most people don't give much thought to food affordability because high-quality, wholesome food is available year-round. We hope consumers give pause to reflect on our tremendous food production and the men and women who make it possible.

In comparison to Food Check-Out Day, Tax Freedom Day, the day the average American had earned enough money to pay federal, state and local taxes was May 3 last year, according to the Tax Foundation.

If you stop and think about all of the costs of living over the years, food remains a real bargain thanks to the productivity of farmers.

Clearly it is a bargain when you compare food costs to our tax obligation.

Food has never been more affordable. The percent of disposable personal income spent for food had declined in the last 25 years. In 1970, Food Check-Out Day would have been Feb. 20, 12 days later.

We have done a good job of growing and providing wholesome, safe food. We're going to continue to look for ways to improve quality and safety in the future.

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