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Posted at 9:07 AM ET, 01/20/2011

Wal-Mart moves toward better nutrition

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

This morning I blogged about the federal government's Food Environment Atlas, which (among other things) maps out every American community's access to healthful foods.

The newly updated Atlas will likely need updating again soon, as Wal-Mart, the nation's largest retailer, announces plans to phase in more healthful food offerings between now and 2015. The company will alter its house brands and work with other food manufacturers such as Kraft to lower the sodium, fat and sugar content of its foods. It also aims to bring the price of better-for-you foods made with whole grains in line with that of products made with less-healthful refined grains and to lower the prices of fruits and vegetables. Wal-Mart has been encouraged to take such action by Michelle Obama and her Let's Move! campaign to end childhood obesity in a generation.

So wherever there's a Wal-Mart, the local food environment could shift dramatically, given the volume of Wal-Mart's sales. The impact will be especially noteworthy in the District of Columbia, where there now are no Wal-Marts but where the company plans, it announced last fall, to build four new stores by the end of 2012.

People will quibble with all kinds of things, from the seemingly lengthy phase-in period to Wal-Mart's business practices. I say let's give credit where credit is due: Wal-Mart is doing what nutrition folks have been urging everyone in the food industry to do, which is to make it easier for Americans -- two thirds of us overweight or obese -- to make better food choices. Way to go, Wal-Mart.

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | January 20, 2011; 9:07 AM ET
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Yes, Wal-Mart is changing the food arena. But thinking about the poisoned pets and chinese "Norwegian Cod", I'm not sure it is for the better.

I'd love to take advantage of Wal-Marts Great Value brand products lower prices, but I've got a daughter.

Posted by: deadmanwalking | January 20, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

There is no question about the tragic experiences Walmart had with the contaminated food. However, given the many actions they have undertaken to become a more environmentally friendly and consumer friendly retailer, I would guess their current quality control procedures are substantially better than their competition.

Also, given their size and profitability, their resources permit them greater latitude than their competitors to do a better job. Perfect... doubtful but probably better than competitors.

In today's retail environment how many samples of dog food (for example) can you submit to gas chromatography and mass spectrometry?

And relative to China, yes some very poor history, but probably improving. You may not remember, but some of the managers involved in manufacturing tainted food were executed.

Posted by: billsecure | January 20, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

There may not be any Walmart INSIDE the District, but, there are MANY Walmarts and SAM'S CLUBS (also a Walmart company) all around the suburbs of D.C. and THOSE PEOPLE can get the MASSIVE SAVINGS and the JOBS being DENIED to the poor people TRAPPED inside the DEMOCRAT PLANTATION-ON-THE-POTOMAC.

Neither can the CHILDREN get HIGH QUALITY EDUCATION available in PRIVATE SCHOOLS because the DEMOCRAT PARTY doesn't allow VOUCHERS to the lower and middle class residents of D.C. to get their children out of the economic servitude FORCED upon the by the stinking Liberals and Progressives such as MASSA OBAMA in the WHITE HOUSE who just announced BILLIONS in BIG DEALS for the lEFTIST UNIONS and the RICH in America to make from CHINA, Obama's ideological PALS, but NOTHING for the citizens of D.C.

Posted by: notinga | January 20, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

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