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Safe and Healthy Food Pantries

Food pantries help meet the nutrition and health needs for people who are food insecure and low-income who may have chronic diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Without food pantries, many buy inexpensive, unhealthy foods for their families. Food pantry guests are at increased risk for foodborne illness.

Research conducted by the University of Wisconsin shows food pantry guests want more fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, turkey, fish, chicken, peanut butter, and eggs. The challenges with offering these foods are many including equipment to store these foods. Food pantries need to make these foods more visible before less healthful foods. Recipes to use the foods will also encourage guests to chose them.

Donors must be mindful of the foods they donate. Establish a nutrition policy to guide donors of needed foods. Providing lists of needed foods helps reduce unwanted donations that may be wasted.

Learn more about improving food pantries at


About Karen Blakeslee

The Rapid Response Center was formed in 1995 as a resource for Kansas State University Research & Extension Agents. Resource topics included Food Science, Human Nutrition, Food Service, Textiles, Home Care and other consumer topics. Since that time, the Center has grown to be of valuable assistance to Kansas State University Extension Specialists in those areas.

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