Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact: An accusation that lacks the meat of truth

The statement

Slim Jims "just recently" cost 99 cents but now cost $2.69.

Sarah Palin, in an interview with Newsweek

The ruling

In an interview with Newsweek, former Republican Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin pointed to Slim Jims — the iconic beef snack — as an example of how food inflation poses a problem for the American economy, saying her husband, Todd, paid $2.69 for it at a gas station.

The term Palin used — "just recently" — is vague, but we thought the past year would be a reasonable yardstick. So we looked at federal inflation data for the period May 2010 to May 2011. For these figures, we turned to the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Workers, or CPI-U — the most commonly used measurement for inflation.

There's no category for Slim Jims, of course, but we did find at least two relevant categories. Beef prices have risen 10.2 percent during the past year, and snack prices have risen 2.8 percent over the same period.

But even a 10.2 percent increase in beef prices does not explain a price rise of roughly 170 percent, which is what Palin's comparison would suggest.

So we went directly to ConAgra, which makes Slim Jims.

Teresa Paulsen, a ConAgra spokeswoman, said, "We haven't raised the price significantly on any Slim Jim products."

She also offered a possible explanation for the confusion. "Our iconic Slim Jim Giant Sticks are priced around $1.30," Paulsen said. "Mr. Palin might have been reaching for one of our Slim Jim Monster Sticks, which offers double the meat for $2.30, or our Slim Jim Kippered Beef Steak, which typically sells for around $2.65."

We'll note that it's also possible that Todd Palin was at a store that disregarded ConAgra's suggested retail price.

So where does this leave us? Food prices — an always-volatile sector — are indeed going up. But food prices are not rising by anything approaching 170 percent. Palin's anecdote offers spice, but not a lot of meat. We rate it False.

This ruling has been edited for print. For the full version, go to PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: An accusation that lacks the meat of truth 07/12/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 11:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Forecast: Cold front on the way, but still upper 80s in Tampa Bay Sunday

    Weather

    ST. PETERSBURG — Tampa Bay's heat is about to break, but Sunday will still see temperatures in the high 80s, meteorologists forecast.

    Tampa Bay should see temperatures in the upper 80s Sunday with a chance for showers late. [Courtesy 10News WTSP]
  2. Lutz driver dead after crash with semi on Dale Mabry Highway

    Accidents

    LUTZ — A 68-year-old driver died Saturday night in a crash with a semitrailer truck on Dale Mabry Highway, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

  3. Toddler, 1, drowns in spa at birthday party in Trinity

    Accidents

    TRINITY — A toddler drowned at a birthday party Saturday evening and died at the hospital, authorities say, after his parents found him in a spa.

  4. Review: Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald team up to cool down the Clearwater Jazz Holiday

    Blogs

    A cool breeze swept through Coachman Park Saturday night. Couple of them, actually.

    Kenny Loggins performed at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday on Oct. 21, 2017.
  5. No. 16 USF hangs on at Tulane, off to first 7-0 start

    College

    NEW ORLEANS — After half a season of mismatches, USF found itself in a grudge match Saturday night.

    USF quarterback Quinton Flowers (9) runs for a touchdown against Tulane during the first half of an NCAA college football game in New Orleans, La., Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Derick E. Hingle) LADH103