AP writer Mary Clare Jalonick reported today that, “The Agriculture Department unveiled new rules on Tuesday that would force retailers who accept food stamps to stock a wider variety of healthy foods or face the loss of business as consumers shop elsewhere.
“The proposed rules are designed to ensure that the more than 46 million Americans who use food stamps have better access to healthy foods although they don’t dictate what people buy or eat. A person using food stamp dollars could still purchase as much junk food as they wanted, but they would at least have more options in the store to buy fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and bread.”
The AP article explained that, “Under current rules, SNAP retailers must stock at least three varieties of foods in each of four food groups: fruits and vegetables, dairy, breads and cereals, and meats, poultry and fish. The new rules would require the retailers to stock seven varieties in each food group, and at least three of the food groups would have to include perishable items. In all, the rules would require stores to stock at least 168 items that USDA considers healthy.
“The proposal would also require that retailers have enough in stock of each item so that the foods would be continuously available.
“The rules could mean that fewer convenience stores qualify to be SNAP retailers.”
Ms. Jalonick also noted that, “The rules come as a key House Republican is pushing for drug tests for food stamp recipients and new cuts to the program.”