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Friday Food News Wrap: August 20

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Another Friday and lots more food news to report. One of the biggest stories we’ve seen this week (especially for our fellow Californians) is the egg recall, which appears to be growing. (380 million eggs are under recall at this point.) This LA Times story has a good summary of which eggs to look out for, what you should do with them, and how to steer clear of salmonella.

Beyond the egg recall, this week’s stories include:

“May Contain” Allergens: New research suggests that consumers allergic to milk, eggs or peanuts should not ignore “may contain” labels, as they are often contaminated with the stated allergen, much more so than those that make no claim. So if you need to stay away from these allergens, you’re probably best off steering clear of those foods with “may contain” labels.

Discount Produce Experiment: The Agriculture Department has awarded $20 million to Massachusetts and a Cambridge-based research firm to test whether providing subsidies for buying produce will encourage food stamp recipients in several towns in Western Massachusetts to consume more fruits and veggies. It’s part of a major federal initiative to increase low-income families’ consumption of healthy foods and combat obesity.

Kids’ Veggie Consumption: Kindergartners may be more likely to eat vegetables if they’re enticed with things such as tasting parties, cooking classes, gardening and even Popeye cartoons, according to a new study that monitored the fruit and vegetable consumption of young children for eight weeks. The researchers say that starting kids on the right path early is key.

Food Label Pitfalls: Do you read your food labels? A new report says that when Americans check food labels on packaged foods, they look for (in descending order): whole grains, dietary fiber, calcium, vitamin C and protein. That’s not a bad list, but most Americans get plenty of protein, whereas they are often deficient in iron, which is missing from the list. Also change.org brings us a helpful list of eight of the most misleading food label terms.

Back to School: It’s back-to-school time again, which means there are lots of ideas flying around for how to make lunches more nutritious and appealing. Peanut butter and jelly on white bread? That’s so 2009. For new inspiration, check out ideas from BlogHer, Epicurious, and Parenting. Need gluten-free lunches? The Gluten-Free RD has five “fabulous” lunch suggestions for you.

Now get packing!

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