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US Fact check: Average whole turkey does not cost $83 at grocery store

09:15  12 november  2021
09:15  12 november  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

Biden's Approach to Turkey has Washington Treading Water | Opinion

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The claim: Turkeys cost $83 at the grocery store

As Thanksgiving approaches and supply chain problems continue nationwide, some social media users say this year's holiday turkey could cost a wing and a leg.

"Turkeys are $83 at the grocery store, it's a $70 fine to hunt without a license," reads text in the Nov. 7 post. "It's a sad day in America when you can shoot a turkey in front of a Game Warden and save money."

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The post, which stems from a Nov. 5 tweet published by MrGeorgiaPine, accumulated more than 2,800 shares within three days. Similar versions of the claim have racked up thousands of interactions over the past week, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool.

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Hunting requirements vary from state to state. But due to supply chain snags and inflation, Americans are expected to pay more for Thanksgiving ingredients this year – including turkeys.

Still, experts and federal data indicate that, while an $83 price tag is possible for some kinds of turkeys, it is not the norm.

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"I can’t imagine that would be anything close to representative," Jayson Lusk, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, said in an email.

USA TODAY reached out to MrGeorgiaPine and the Facebook user who shared the claim for comment.

Average turkey price is about $1.07 per pound

Turkey prices are on the rise and expected to hit record highs this year, according to The New York Times. But don't plan on an $83 bird at Thanksgiving dinner.

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To support the Facebook post's claim, one commenter linked to a fully cooked, hickory-smoked turkey listed for $89 on Goldbelly, a website that sells regional and artisanal foods. Other posts with the claim include a photo of a 15-pound kosher turkey with an $84 price tag at Publix.

Those prices jibe with other listings for fully cooked and kosher turkeys. But they aren't the norm, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"That would have to be one heck of a big turkey!" Kate Waters, an agency spokesperson, said of the claim in an email.

The USDA publishes a weekly report of retail turkey prices advertised by grocery stores nationwide. According to the report for Nov. 5-11, the average cost of a whole frozen turkey was about $1.07 per pound for hens and $1.06 per pound for toms. The data does not include the average costs of fresh turkeys.

For a 24-pound bird, which would be among the heaviest turkeys, that would come to about $25 – more than three times cheaper than the price cited in the Facebook post.

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The prices of both retail and wholesale turkeys have increased by more than 10% from last year, USDA data shows. But experts say that increase will not result in an $83 turkey for the average American.

"I bought a turkey (at H-E-B) on Nov. 1 and paid $1.28 per pound for a 16-pound bird," David Anderson, an agricultural economics professor at Texas A&M University, said in an email. "If I went to a special store and ordered an already cooked or smoked turkey, then the price might be $80."

Our rating: Missing context

Based on our research, we rate the claim that turkeys cost $83 at the grocery store MISSING CONTEXT, because without additional information it could be misleading. Turkey prices are on the rise, and some kosher or fully cooked turkeys can be expensive. But experts say an $83 price tag is not the norm. Retail data from the USDA shows the average whole, frozen turkey at U.S. grocery stores costs about $1.07 per pound.

Our fact-check sources:

  • CrowdTangle, accessed Nov. 10
  • CBS News, Oct. 26, On the table for Thanksgiving this year? Higher food prices
  • The New York Times, Oct. 25, This Year’s Thanksgiving Feast Will Wallop the Wallet
  • Jayson Lusk, Nov. 9, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • Goldbelly, accessed Nov. 10, Hickory Smoked Turkey
  • Google Shopping, accessed Nov. 10
  • Kate Waters, Nov. 10, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • David Anderson, Nov. 10, Email exchange with USA TODAY
  • Department of Agriculture, accessed Nov. 10, Turkey Market News Reports
  • Whole Foods, accessed Nov. 10, How to Buy Turkey: Types, Sizes and Storage
  • Department of Agriculture, Nov. 5, Advertised Prices for Turkey to Consumers at Major Retail Supermarket Outlets during the period of 11/05 thru 11/11.
  • Department of Agriculture, Nov. 5, TURKEY: Weekly National Fresh and Frozen Whole Young Turkeys (Fri)
  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, accessed Nov. 10, State Hunting Licenses
  • USA TODAY, Nov. 9, Before busy holiday season, Biden lays out new efforts to ease supply chain congestion
  • Department of Agriculture, July 29, Countdown to a Food-Safe Thanksgiving Day - FAQs

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Average whole turkey does not cost $83 at grocery store

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