Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Push for healthier food could push some stores off food stamp program

McClatchy reports:
New federal regulations intended to promote healthy eating could make it harder to use food stamps at convenience stores – a change that opponents say will leave disadvantaged people with fewer places to buy groceries.

The standards proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture would require retailers that accept food stamps to stock more and fresher varieties of food. But many convenience stores won’t be able to meet the requirements and will be forced from the the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as SNAP, or food stamps, critics say.

Mary Braddock frets that could happen to the convenience stores run by her family near Kansas City, Missouri. Open from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., the Meiners Markets in Lee’s Summit and Blue Springs sell everything from bulk candy and beer to fresh fruit and vegetables. Attached to gas stations, they’re handy pit stops for early risers and late-night shift workers, some of whom rely on food stamps to grab groceries on the go.

But Meiners Markets don’t have the shelf space to display the mandatory number of items at all times, and it will be too costly to stock all the unprocessed and perishable foods required, Braddock said.

"Mandatory items" ! The great moments of the Welfare State.