US fruit and vegetable group, Dole Food, announced a fourth-quarter loss that significantly exceeded Wall Street expectations, the Financial Times reports. The company blamed a low banana prices for the quarterly shortfall together with the weak euro and yen, and higher fuel costs. For the fourth quarter, Dole Food lost $7.4m, or 13 cents per share - below analysts' estimates of a 2 cents loss - compared with earnings of 4 cents for the previous period. Sales for the quarter were approximately flat at $1.06bn. The results is further evidence of the struggling US banana industry. Last week, Chiquita, second behind Dole in bananas, filed a law suit against the European Commission, alleging that its banana regime restricted the company's imports and pushed it to the brink of insolvency.