Pork prices on the rise

By Kelly McCarthy

April 16, 2014 Updated Apr 16, 2014 at 6:01 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Pork prices are on the rise due to a new virus that has killed millions of young pigs, threatened pork production, and pushed up bacon prices at least 10%.

A virus, never before seen in the U.S., has already killed more than six million piglets across 27 states.

The virus does not affect humans... except for higher costs at the grocery store.

A spokesperson for Wegmans said the virus has caused a greater demand for live hogs, with fewer to slaughter.

The low supply has caused two major national producers to cut production from a normal five days down to four.

Wegmans has seen cost increases in pork products across the board, but the owner of Butcher Boys said the virus and the price increases will not affect dinner this Easter Sunday.

"There's nothing to worry about because we pulled out last year's add and the hams are selling for the exact amount that they did last year," said owner John Fargnoli, "They just didn't add to that particular cut."

Fargnoli said he's expecting the prices for more manufactured pork products to see the biggest increase.

"Well, they have to add the money someplace because of the shortage and so they put it where the biggest demand is," Fargnoli said. "You know, like bacon and sausages and cold cuts, and stuff like that there."

Experts are working on a vaccine for the virus, but the Federal Government has not yet approved one.

If there is no vaccine soon, Fargnoli said he expects that price increases could hurt consumers here this summer.

"Come summertime, that's big sausage, hot dogs, spiedies, and them cuts are going to get very expensive," Fargnoli said.

The summertime holidays that rely on hot dogs, cold cuts, and sausages could be affected most.

Nationwide, the average price of bacon has gone up about 10% since the virus started to infect piglets.

The national average for a pound of bacon in February was $5.46 per pound. However, the local prices haven't increased too much since then; bacon is selling for $5.49 at both Wegmans and Butcher Boys.