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January 10, 2009

Dollar Store Food Shopping

Why is there a picture of a Dollar Store in a blog about community food?


By Arnell J. Hinkle

Why is there a picture of a Dollar Store in a blog about community food?  Because in many communities the Dollar Store or some similarly-named store is the nearest place to buy food.  Sure you can get some great deals, but at what price to your health?  Most of the foods are processed or canned and full of salt, sugars, and trans fats.  Many of the items are past their expiration or “sell-by” dates.  Dollar-type stores are also notorious for being the place that tainted foods from China and other countries without adequate food safety laws end up. So, in an effort to be economical you can actually pay a high cost if you buy foods that aren’t good for your health.

If you must shop at a 99-cent type store, be sure to read the labels carefully, check the expiration date, and country of origin label.  Try to limit your purchases to fresh produce, dried fruits, or to packaged items that contain fewer than five ingredients.

There should be a better alternative. Every neighborhood needs a food outlet that provides fresh, affordable, and healthy food choices.  If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, ask your local political representative what they are doing to bring healthier food to your area.  Ask for a farmer’s market, a small produce store, or a full-service grocery store - you know best what type of food outlet your community needs.  If you want to learn what others around the country are doing to improve the quality of food in their communities check out Community Food Assessments.

 



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