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Retail prices of beef fell in the week that ended Friday for the first decline in three weeks.

The Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry said Monday the average price of domestically produced chilled loin beef was down 3 yen, or 0.4 percent, from the previous week to 687 yen per 100 grams.

The average retail price of imported chilled beef fell for the first time in four weeks, declining 2 yen, or 0.5 percent, to 377 yen per 100 grams.

“The prices have stabilized because they moved in a narrow range,” an official of the ministry’s Food Safety and Consumer Affairs Bureau said.

Beef prices had been high following the import ban on U.S. beef imposed by the government in late December after the discovery of the first U.S. case of mad cow disease.

The average price of domestically produced chilled loin beef hit a record 690 yen in the week that ended March 26 due to strong demand for beef.

The average retail price of pork loin rose for the first time in two weeks, going up 1 yen, or 0.4 percent, to 240 yen per 100 grams. The average retail price of chicken came to 117 yen per 100 grams, unchanged for the fifth straight week, the ministry said.

The average retail price of poultry eggs fell 2 yen, or 1.3 percent, to 153 yen per a case containing 10 medium-size eggs, the ministry said.

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