WBEZ | meat http://www.wbez.org/tags/meat Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Should children meet their meat? http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/should-children-meet-their-meat-108872 <p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="460" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/oUqhG1fHLBQ" width="620"></iframe></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114447731" width="100%"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">On a recent sunny September morning, a crowd of Chicago foodies pulled up to Faith&rsquo;s Farm in Kankakee County to learn about where their meat comes from.</p><p dir="ltr">Four black hogs romped around a straw-filled trailer in the front yard snuggling, squealing and sniffing at all the newcomers to their home.</p><p dir="ltr">One of them wouldn&rsquo;t make it through the day, but she didn&rsquo;t know it. Unlike the majority of hog farms in this country, Faith&#39;s Farm smells sweet and features herds of jolly looking black hogs roaming its 30-plus acres. &nbsp;&nbsp;Although these pigs weren&rsquo;t used to hanging out in a trailer, they looked pretty relaxed, surrounded by relatives and pals from their herd. Farmer Kim Snyder said she was trying to keep their surroundings as normal as possible.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If I left her sitting on a trailer by herself, she would become stressed,&rdquo; Snyder explained.</p><p dir="ltr">This was the fifth year Snyder brought together Chicago area chefs, &nbsp;craft brewers, wine makers, and farmers for a day of learning, cooking, breaking bread&mdash; and slaughtering animals. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">It was 2008 when Snyder launched the event with farmer Harry Carr and chefs Bernie Laskowski of the Park Grill and Cleetus Friedman of the Fountainhead as co-sponsors.<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hog%20slaughter2.PNG" style="float: right; height: 215px; width: 320px;" title="Visitors to Faiths Farm, including kids, watch a humane hog slaughter. Some people believe this is important to witness while others think its wrong. (WBEZ/Monica Eng)" /></p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think it was six or seven years ago that I first did a farm dinner here on Faith&#39;s Farm,&rdquo; Friedman said. &ldquo;And after I saw the impact of how it affected people, I said we should really bring chefs down here and connect them to their food...So they could see the process and literally touch it and be a part of it.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">For me and a lot of chefs, the trip to Faith&#39;s Farm each year serves as an important reminder of what must be sacrificed for us to produce and eat the meat we love so much.</p><p dir="ltr">As the slaughter draws near a nervous pall falls over the group. Snyder prepares the visitors for what they are about to see. &nbsp;She explains that Sam, the butcher, will shoot a 22 caliber bullet into to the hog&rsquo;s brain. But it doesn&rsquo;t end there. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not going to drop and not move,&rdquo; she warned. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s going to move. We will confirm brain death by eye dilation and once Sam has confirmed brain death he will continue the process, you can ask questions and he will will show you how to skin and properly eviscerate the animal.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">As if that wasn&rsquo;t scary enough, the butcher issues yet another warning, saying &ldquo;Before we get started, if anyone is squeamish, you can&rsquo;t stand blood or the cracking of bones or if you can&rsquo;t handle guts, you might want to step away.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">A nervous silence falls over the group as Sam sharpens his knives then picks up his rifle and approaches the trailer.</p><p dir="ltr">Within moments the rifle goes off and the hog is kicking wildly on the ground. Sam grabs her leg and holds on tight to prevent injury to him and the animal, herself.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Hogs kick harder than any other animal when they die,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen hogs shatter their femur going down.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Once she stops kicking subsides the pigs legs are tied with chains and she&rsquo;s hoisted in the air. In one swift motion, Sam cuts the jugular and carotid arteries around her neck. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The gathered group swallows hard as they watch the scarlet blood stream into a bucket.</p><p dir="ltr">Snyder breaks the silence by saying that she wishes all of her hogs could be processed right on her farm like this so that they could live and romp with their herd until the very last minute.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This animal was born here and lived her life free,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;And so she felt no stress.&rdquo;</p><p><iframe align="left" frameborder="0" height="100" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F114451791" width="300"></iframe></p><p dir="ltr">The same can&rsquo;t be said for all of the visitors in attendance. Fountainhead cook Andy Spetz, stood a few feet from the action, visibly moved by the process.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen butchery from dead animals but this is the first time I&rsquo;ve actually seen it from the point of the killing and it&rsquo;s going to make me go back to my kitchen and really think twice about everything I&rsquo;ve been doing,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;One of the biggest things is just thinking about where your food is coming from that that understanding that these were a live animal that somebody cared for and loved and is now sacrificing for everyone here to enjoy it. It&rsquo;s a very powerful thing.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Mark Sabbe is a sous chef at Merxat a la Plancha. This is his second year.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s really important for anyone who works in food to understand where it comes from,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;As a chef I want to understand how the animals are raised and how they are killed and what goes into breaking it down&hellip;.Once you&rsquo;ve met Kim and you&rsquo;ve been to her farm and you see the way she takes care of her animals it&rsquo;s really difficult to buy commercial [pork] again.&rdquo; &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Edward Kim is the executive chef at Ruxbin and Mott Street. He brought members of both his kitchen and his dining room staff.</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/01.jpg" style="float: left; height: 233px; width: 350px;" title="(WBEZ/Tim Akimoff)" />&ldquo;The average person when they go the grocery store, their meat comes in a cellophane package and doesn&rsquo;t even seem like an animal,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;One of the greatest lessons I can teach my staff and cooks is to respect the food and remember that protein was a living animal. It&rsquo;s not fun to watch the harvesting of animal but it really brings it home that this was a living being and you are going to make sure that pork and chicken and try your best and make it taste as good as you can.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Over the years, I&rsquo;ve interviewed a lot of chefs at this event who felt transformed by the experience. But I&rsquo;ve also interviewed the kids&mdash;mostly city kids whose allowed them to witness the slaughter.</p><p dir="ltr"><a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-08-26/opinion/ct-talk-eng-slaughter-column-20100826_1_meat-bacon-hogs">Three years ago, I took my own seven year old daughter Miranda.</a></p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It made me feel sad and kind of grossed out because I don&rsquo;t like seeing dead stuff,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;But after it, I thought a lot more about what I&rsquo;m eating.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ digital editor Tim Akimoff brought his 12-year-old son Carson this year, too. Some of the aspects of the slaughter took him by surprise.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t think there would be as much blood as that,&rdquo; the 12-year-old said. &ldquo;I used to think the meat we eat came from more around the stomach, but I learned it comes from around the thighs.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">But do they think it&rsquo;s OK for parents to let their kids see it?</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;If they know their kid well and they think that they are too sensitive to see it...then they shouldn&rsquo;t,&rdquo; Miranda said. &ldquo;But if they are just being overprotective...then they should let them go.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Carson agrees.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s good to see where your meat comes from because it&rsquo;s how we get our food,&rdquo; he says.</p><p dir="ltr">After the animals are quartered and moved to the freezer to chill, Snyder takes first timers on a tour of the farm where cows, chickens and hogs largely roam free.</p><p dir="ltr">Others cool off in the shade while listening to the tunes of cowboy singer Kent Rose.</p><p dir="ltr">After the tour, the chefs descend on Snyder&rsquo;s large kitchen to prep their potluck dishes, while others work to break down the carcasses. Right before sun down they load long outdoor tables with platters of grilled vegetables, rosemary rolls, farro salad with roasted squash, beet and goat cheese salads, braised goat and vanilla cake and deeply chocolately brownies.</p><p dir="ltr">By night&rsquo;s end, each will go home with a souvenir ceramic cup, several pounds of fresh pork and a some new insights on the meat they serve in their kitchens and restaurants.</p><p dir="ltr">Monica Eng is a WBEZ web producer. Follow her&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/triciabobeda">@</a>monicaeng.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 08 Oct 2013 16:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/sections/lifestyle/should-children-meet-their-meat-108872 Sometimes meat is worth the risk http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/sometimes-meat-worth-risk-106788 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sollysbutterburger.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Original Solly cheeseburger with sirloin patty, butter, stewed onions, and American cheese at Solly's Grille in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">And the losers are: ground beef and chicken. Those are the meats most likely to make you sick with severe foodborne illness cased by bacteria according to a study released today by the <a href="https://twitter.com/CSPI"><u>Center for Science in the Public Interest</u></a>. The non-profit advocate for nutrition, health, and food safety&nbsp;reviewed more than 33,000 cases of foodborne illness over a 12 year period.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Of course this is a complex issue with infinite variables. It starts at your meat source and ends at your plate.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><p>How can you reduce your risk? (Other than not eating ground beef or chicken.) CSPI senior food safety attorney Sarah Klein recommends safe food handling and a thermometer.</p><p>I recommend the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GIZZWM?ie=UTF8&amp;creativeASIN=B002GIZZWM&amp;tag=lklchu-20"><u>Thermapen on the high end ($96)</u></a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000A3L614?ie=UTF8&amp;creativeASIN=B000A3L614&amp;tag=lklchu-20"><u>ProAccurate Large Dial on the low ($8.99)</u></a>.</p>Most importantly wash your hands, but not your meat. Even the <a href="http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/basics/clean/"><u>USDA says so</u></a>. By the time you&#39;ve cooked your food to <a href="http://www.foodsafety.gov/blog/meat_temperatures.html"><u>the recommended temperatures</u></a>, you&#39;ve killed the bacteria that might make you sick.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But the meats least likely to make you sick: chicken nuggets, sausage, and ham.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&quot;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086200/quotes?item=qt0411699"><u>Sometimes you just gotta say &#39;what the heck.&#39;</u></a>&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&mdash; <em>Risky Business</em>, Joel&#39;s father</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Follow Louisa Chu <a href="https://twitter.com/louisachu"><u>@louisachu</u></a>.</em></div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/sollysbutterspread.jpg" style="height: 413px; width: 620px;" title="Solly's Grille in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (WBEZ/Louisa Chu)" /></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 23 Apr 2013 09:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/louisa-chu/2013-04/sometimes-meat-worth-risk-106788 Controversial billboard on the Eisenhower alleges hot dogs cause cancer http://www.wbez.org/story/controversial-billboard-eisenhower-alleges-hot-dogs-cause-cancer-97265 <p><p>A controversial new billboard on the Eisenhower Expressway is trying to increase awareness of colorectal cancer with a blunt message: Hot Dogs Cause Butt Cancer.</p><p>Drivers passing between the Kostner and Cicero exits while heading west won't be able to miss the sign, which includes a cartoon drawing of a man in a hospital gown with a hot dog in hand. The <a href="http://www.pcrm.org/media/news/billboard-warns-chicago-of-hot-dog-butt-cancer">Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine </a>posted the billboard this week, in what they say is a way to get important research out of a medical journal and into people's brains.</p><p>Susan Levin, nutrition director for the PCRM, said the group was inspired by a 2007<a href="http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&amp;id=15642&amp;news_iv_ctrl=0&amp;abbr=pr_"> American Institute for Cancer Research study</a> that said eating processed meats increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.</p><p>"Nobody knows this - this is the kind of language you hear when people talk about tobacco and lung cancer but nobody was associating processed meats like pepperoni, or hot dogs or deli meats with cancer," Levin said.</p><p>Levin said hopes the billboard raises awareness in a city that's known for its hot dogs.<br> <br> Meanwhile, the American Meat Institute is calling the billboard "outrageous." The national meat and poultry trade organization released a<a href="http://www.meatami.com/ht/display/ReleaseDetails/i/76277"> statement</a> Wednesday that cited multiple studies that say there is no link between colon cancer and processed meats. The statement said hot dogs are part of any healthy diet when put alongside vegetables, grains and dairy.<br> <br> In 2007, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Illinois has one of the highest <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/colorectal/statistics/state.htm">rates</a> of colorectal cancer in the country.</p></p> Wed, 14 Mar 2012 12:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/controversial-billboard-eisenhower-alleges-hot-dogs-cause-cancer-97265 Dyan Flores breaks down the myth behind a meat-filled Midwest http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-20/dyan-flores-breaks-down-myth-behind-meat-filled-midwest-95678 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-20/dyan-flores-sox.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-20/dyan-flores-sox.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 152px;" title="">Gaper's Block writer Dyan Flores takes issue with the&nbsp;<em>New York Times'</em> look into&nbsp;vegetarianism in the Midwest;&nbsp;"<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/11/dining/a-vegetarians-struggle-for-sustenance-in-the-midwest.html?pagewanted=all">Meatless in the Midwest: A Tale of Survival</a>" was&nbsp;written and published last week by heir to the throne A.G. Sulzberger.&nbsp;Read an excerpt of Flores' thoughts, or listen below.</p><p><em>"After living in New York City for four years, I will concede that New York has superior bagels, taxi drivers and baseball teams. That's as far as I'll go. New York City is great, but as a born and bred Midwesterner, I refuse to buy into the Manhattan-is-center-of-the-universe hype. East coast snobbery runs rampant in the Big Apple, and as far as many New Yorkers are concerned, the Midwest is just a land of republicans, who are fueled by a diet of steaks and bacon grease."</em></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483860-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/dyan flores.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>This Saturday at the Horseshoe, you'll see Steve Waltien of the Second City main stage, Kate James of Schadenfraude, puppeteer Noah Ginex, and a tribute to the late Chicago comic Mike Enriquez by Ryan Patrick Dolan.</p><p><a href="http://thepapermacheteshow.com/" target="_blank">The Paper Machete</a>&nbsp;<em>is a weekly live magazine at the Horseshoe in North Center. It's always at 3 p.m., it's always on Saturday, and it's always free. Get all your</em>&nbsp;The Paper Machete Radio Magazine&nbsp;<em>needs filled&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.org/thepapermachete" target="_blank">here</a>, or download the podcast from iTunes&nbsp;<a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/the-paper-machete-radio-magazine/id450280345" target="_blank">here</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 20 Jan 2012 15:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-20/dyan-flores-breaks-down-myth-behind-meat-filled-midwest-95678 Sara Lee reportedly will pursue a breakup http://www.wbez.org/story/apollo-global-management/sara-lee-reportedly-will-pursue-breakup <p><p>Sara Lee reportedly will split up its business instead of selling the whole company. <br /><br />The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times say Sara Lee is heading for a breakup after deciding that buyout bids came in too low. Neither paper is citing its sources, and a Sara Lee spokeswoman declined to comment. <br /><br />Morningstar analyst Erin Swanson says the Brazilian meat company JBS may be having trouble coming up with enough financing to meet the price Sara Lee wants. <br /><br />&quot;JBS has made I want to say between 15 and 20 acquisitions in the last several years and they have a significant amount of debt on their balance sheet as a result of these acquisitions, and so I think that that is one of the things that I think could be holding JBS back,&quot; Swanson said.<br /><br />Another bid reportedly came from a group led by a private-equity firm called Apollo Global Management. Swanson says she thinks it&rsquo;s still possible Sara Lee will get a higher offer and sell the company after all. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 27 Jan 2011 21:24:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/apollo-global-management/sara-lee-reportedly-will-pursue-breakup Federal food stamp program fails some low-income Chicagoans http://www.wbez.org/story/audio-engineering/federal-food-stamp-program-fails-some-low-income-chicagoans <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/001.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois uses $2 billion of the federal food stamp program.That translates into a lot of assistance for food, but it doesn&rsquo;t always translate into assistance for healthy food. Parts of Chicago are food deserts &ndash; places where there&rsquo;re few grocery stores with fresh produce and meat. Often, low-income families who rely on food stamps shop at liquor stores, gas stations and dollar stores. A WBEZ investigation found that these retailers make up 30 percent of the food stamp providers in Chicago.These places offer more junk food than fresh food, but the federal government still gives these stores the green light to accept food stamps.&nbsp;</p><p>Caroline Ellis is at Citgo buying gas &hellip; and snacks.</p><div><em>ambi: I want five on one first and I want this on Link.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Ellis uses her Link Card, or food stamps, to buy two cans of pop and two bags of chips.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Besides a few bananas near the cash register, there&rsquo;s not much healthy food here. After all, it is a gas station.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>As Ellis pumps gas outside, she explains Citgo is not where she grocery shops.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>ELLIS: See, I have a vehicle. A lot of people don&rsquo;t have vehicles so they not able to get around and they forced to buy this stuff. I can ride past Western on Cicero to get me some fresh fruit, vegetables or whatever I need. I don&rsquo;t buy fruits and vegetables and things like that at a gas station.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Ellis is in the Woodlawn neighborhood on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. She travels several miles just to shop for fresh groceries.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>That&rsquo;s because she lives in a food desert &ndash; a community lacking healthy food or mainstream grocery stores. More than half a million Chicagoans live in such food deserts. The areas tend to be low-income and minority.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are more than 2200 authorized food stamp retailers in Chicago. WBEZ found that 14 percent are gas stations or liquor stores.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Another 15 percent are pharmacies and dollar stores.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>ambi: One Stop Store describing: You see garlic because people like garlic. Lemons, because people like lemons. Green apples&hellip;but you can&rsquo;t put that much out there.</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Michael H. works at One-Stop on 73rd and Racine. It&rsquo;s a cross between a dollar store and a corner store. An on-duty butcher cuts meat, but there are only four heads of cabbage, three withered lemons, sweet potatoes and a box of onions. On the other hand, One-Stop is heavy on potato chips and pop. Still, it&rsquo;s an authorized food stamp retailer.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Here are Michael&rsquo;s thoughts if the federal government ever gave the store a decree for more healthy food:</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>MICHAEL: The thought is real good, but being such a small store&hellip;I would probably say this, I could add it, but I wouldn&rsquo;t have to keep it where I can store it, because people ain&rsquo;t gonna buy it.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>He adds, he&rsquo;d have to raise prices, too.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>I hear arguments like Michael&rsquo;s at a lot of gas stations and liquor stores I visit.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Over and over, they say it&rsquo;s too hard to keep fresh food &hellip; so they don&rsquo;t offer much.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>GALLAGHER: There are two problems with the USDA food stamp retailer program. One, the standards are too low. And two we&rsquo;re not in compliance with the low standards.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mari Gallagher is a national food desert researcher based in Chicago.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>GALLAGHER: The food stamp program is in effect rewarding people who are not playing by the rules and generally these stores that are not playing by the rules are of a lower retail caliber. And they attract more of the same.</div> <div>The U.S. Department of Agriculture does have criteria for SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program&hellip;commonly known as food stamps.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>For one, tobacco and alcohol can&rsquo;t be bought.&nbsp;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Next, there must be at least three varieties of food in four staple food groups.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>They have to offer perishable foods in at least two of these categories: meat, poultry or fish; bread or cereal; vegetables or fruits and finally, dairy products.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>And last &hellip; More than half of the dollar amount of all things sold has to be from the sale of eligible staple foods.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>And, yep &hellip; that&rsquo;s supposed to include gas stations.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>But these rules aren&rsquo;t always followed at outlets that take food stamps.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>ambi of liquor store, bags rustling</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At ER&amp;J Food and Liquor, owner Elias Abuelizam basically admits that he&rsquo;s not adhering to the standards. But when USDA officials visit him, they don&rsquo;t cite him.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>ABUELIZAM: I&rsquo;m a liquor store mostly. I got food and liquor. We sell liquor but food is slow these days but it&rsquo;s okay, it&rsquo;s not that much.</div> <div>Again, there&rsquo;re 2200 stores that accept food stamps in Chicago, but USDA officials say they haven&rsquo;t kicked out even one retailer in fiscal year 2010 for noncompliance.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kevin Concannon is USDA&rsquo;s Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services. I ask him if the benchmarks are high enough.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>CONCANNON: I&rsquo;ve asked the question myself to be perfectly frank. It certainly bothers me when I see a sign, the preeminent sign in front of the store is liquor and then the store meets the criteria minimally to be able to process the SNAP program of food stamps.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Concannon says he hopes the 2012 Farm Bill will increase requirements around food stamp choices. His agency points to the growing inclusion of farmer&rsquo;s markets as a way to wipe out food deserts.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>He doesn&rsquo;t accept the rationalization store owners provide &ndash; again, that people just won&rsquo;t buy healthy food. Concannon says a different food program known as Women, Infants, and Children, or WIC, has worked.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s expanded food choices. More fruits, less fat. He says there&rsquo;s evidence that when a store offers WIC food &hellip; even people outside the program buy healthier items.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>The problem is &hellip; for now, current food stamp program requirements are still low.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>So in people in food deserts are literally hungry for produce.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are efforts to fill in the gap &hellip;.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>ambi of food pantry: number 41</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Deanna Haymer shows up for some free produce at a food pantry in Chicago&rsquo;s Englewood neighborhood.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Five produce trucks come by once a month. On this Friday morning, about 200 people file in for cucumbers, lettuce and grapefruit.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Deanna Haymer loads up her cardboard box.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>ambi: yeah, I know how to cook green beans</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Haymer says her produce options have been dicey. A Food 4 Less store recently opened a few blocks from her, but before that, she shopped at liquor stores and gas stations.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>HAYMER: I&rsquo;m not satisfied with what I get but sometimes you just have to accept what you can get at the time. Like the fruit sometimes it be like mushy or the green peppers be a different color or shriveled up.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Transportation has been a huge problem for Haymer.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>In fact, a lot of low-income families can&rsquo;t drive or use public transit to shop outside their neighborhoods.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Experts say we need to get creative to fix the problem of food deserts and food stamp standards.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>That doesn&rsquo;t just mean getting more mainstream grocery stores to open in food deserts.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>Researcher Mari Gallagher says one idea is to improve all the stores that already accept food stamps.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div><div>GALLAGHER: What if we worked with those stores and said hey, we&rsquo;re going to use carrots and sticks. The ones who are going to have the different types of dairy products and other kind of products that support a healthy diet can stay in the program. And the ones who don&rsquo;t will have to get out. 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Mon, 22 Nov 2010 22:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/audio-engineering/federal-food-stamp-program-fails-some-low-income-chicagoans