WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for food and beverages remained steady in March, finishing at 236.26, up narrowly from 236.23 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the Department of Labor. The food index also was unchanged, ending at 236.33 in March, which compared with 236.30 in February.

Within food at home, three of the six major grocery store food group indexes decreased in March, led by dairy and related products, which fell 0.6% in March after a 0.4% decline in February.

Also finishing lower in March was the index for fruits and vegetables, which fell 0.4% after rising 1.4% in February.

The index for nonalcoholic beverages declined 0.2% during March. The index was flat in February.

The indexes for cereals and bakery products and for other food at home both increased 0.2% in March, while the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs was unchanged.

Over the past 12 months, the food at home index has risen 1%, led by a 4.4% increase in the fruits and vegetables index.

The overall Consumer Price Index, which advanced 0.7% in February, fell 0.2% in March. Over the past 12 months, the index increased 1.5%.