Food Banks Push for Healthier Products
Food banks in California and nationwide increasingly are considering the nutritional value of food they distribute, and some are taking steps to improve the nutritional quality of donated food items, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
According to Los Angeles Regional Food Bank spokesperson Darren Hoffman, low-income people often are at risk of becoming overweight or obese by "trying to stretch their dollars with macaroni and cheese or inexpensive hamburgers."
Many food bank operators say that they want to distribute more produce but that fresh fruits and vegetables are difficult to store on site. Food bank operators also worry that by declining certain products from corporate donors, they will discourage any type of donation.
However, several food banks already have made changes to improve the nutritional quality of the food distributed, including:
- The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank last year hired a nutritionist to educate state agencies on healthful eating. The food bank also refuses certain products, including soda;
- The Alameda County Community Food Bank last year began phasing out soda from its warehouse and began a campaign to ensure that at least 75% of the food it distributes is nutritious; and
- Redwood Empire Food Bank is asking health food companies for donations (Messinger, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/20).