First lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America announced yesterday that they are working with a number of major grocery retailers to bring affordable, healthy food to areas that desperately need them. “Make no mistake about it, this is a big deal,” said Obama during yesterday’s press conference. The partnering companies have agreed to open or expand over 1,500 stores combined, according to PR Newswire.
Stores participating in the initiative include Walmart, Walgreens, Brown’s Super Stores, Calhoun Enterprises, Klein’s Family Markets and Supervalu. Walmart has been an early supporter of Obama’s initiative to fight childhood obesity. Earlier this year, they announced plans to reduce the sugar and sodium content of their in-house brands and is now committing to building or expanding 300 stores. Additionally, the California Endowment has pledged to give $200 million through the FreshWorks Fund for new, independent retail channels and food distribution programs in California.
According to Partnership for a Healthier America, these efforts will provide nearly 10 million Americans with the ability to buy fresh produce close to their homes. An estimated 23.5 million Americans currently live in low-income “food deserts” where there are no stores likely to sell nutritious foods at a reasonable cost. Michelle Obama has explained that getting businesses to take this kind of active role is key to the success of programs like Let Move!
It’s rare to see a first lady endorse a superstore chain, but Wal-Mart’s new initiative to offer low-cost healthier foods is in line with Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity campaign. “When I see a company like Wal-Mart launch an initiative like this, I feel more hopeful than ever before,” said Ms. Obama at the announcement, calling it a “a huge victory for folks all across this country.” Wal-Mart unveiled the healthy food initiative at THEARC, a Southeast Washington community center that offers a nutritious food program. The company also announced plans to open their first stores in the D.C. area.
“No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford,” Bill Simon, president and chief executive of Walmart U.S., said in a statement posted on the company’s Web site. “With more than 140 million customers each week, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a difference by making food healthier and more affordable to everyone.”
In more food recall news, this time frozen vegetables are being pulled from shelves and consumers are warned to review the items in their homes to return for refund. The voluntary recall by Pictsweet Co., reports CNN.com, was not prompted by any injury reports, only a preventative step. These frozen vegetables may have glass fragments in the packages.
Important Recall Details:
Wal-Mart recently announced that it will be taking steps towards sourcing more of its produce locally. Eating locally is one of the best things you can do to protect the environment, by cutting down on the amount of fossil fuels that are consumed in the process of shipping, and the pollution created by emissions.
While the superstore’s measures are certainly modest, they do bring the issue of local eating to mainstream attention in a big way. Wal-Mart is the world’s largest grocer, so the decision to source nine percent of the produce it sells in the U.S. can have a major impact. Not only will it give more shoppers the opportunity to buy local, it will give small farmers a chance at more revenue and reduce food-waste and spoilage. In Canada, Wal-Mart intends to make as much as 30 percent of the produce sold local. “Our food business in Canada is brand new, so there’s a lot they can do,” said Wal-Mart’s vice president of sustainability Andrea Thomas, reports The New York Times.
It was announced today that Walmart is recalling 91,872 pounds of their “Great Value” brand chicken nuggets, produced by Perdue Farms. They said the nuggets “could have been contaminated because a small blue plastic ring got into the raw material before the nuggets were formed,” according to CNN.com.
There are more than 50,000 affected packages of nuggets, and have a “best if used by date” of June 9, 2011. Numbers on the packages are 89008A, 0160 and P-33944.
Perdue is accepting the recalled product for a full refund. No other chicken products are affected.
Anyone who watched Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution this past spring should feel like every chicken nugget under the sun should be recalled. We’re a little ill remembering Jamie’s graphic demonstration of how they’re made. (Chicken carcass, blender, fried in oil…) We’ve vowed to never eat them again. (more…)