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1982 grocery bag forecast eases; 5 to 9% rise seen

Food will cost from 5 to 9 percent more next year--with middlemen, not farmers, largely to blame--the Agriculture Department said Monday. One consolation, though, is that these latest estimates are a little lower than previous predictions of prices rising 7 to 10 percent next year.

The department said rising marketing costs, not farm prices--which average one-third of food costs--will boost retail prices.

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