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Friday, January 14, 2011

Food Banks Conflicted Over Junk Food Donations

Posted By on Fri, Jan 14, 2011 at 7:00 AM

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Just because they're hungry doesn't mean they should have junk food. NPR covers the touchy subject of how desperate food pantries manage junk food donations. Grocery stores often donate damaged items like soda and chips, which food banks are loathe to forgo for fear of losing healthy donations from the same stores. "I was told that, 'Well, we give it out because if we don't take it, we won't get other food from people when they're distributing it,' " said Dr. Mary Flynn, a nutrition professor and board member of a Rhode Island food bank.

They might not have as much citrus fruit this year, either. The Sarasota Herald Tribune reports that Florida's orange crops will be 2 percent smaller this year because of December's cold weather. That's three million less boxes of oranges than last year, 2/3 of them Valencias used by orange juice companies.

Winter's no good for farmers markets, either. Tim Carmen of the Washington Post found this out during a visit to Smart Market in Gainesville, Maryland, when a farmer pulled him aside and complained about all the value-added products - prepped food like barbecue and jarred salsa - being sold at winter farmers markets. Carmen investigates what works for winter farmers markets - filling them with kale and squash, or priming them with local prepped food and even craft items to bring in customers.

And today's recall? According to Columbus Business First, the Kroger grocery chain recalled their store-brand semi-sweet chocolate chips because they might contain milk that isn't listed on the packaging.

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