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Buying Junk Food With Food Stamps May Be Banned In Florida

Buying Junk Food With Food Stamps May Be Banned In Florida

According to Florida state Senator Ronda Storms, taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for the junk food habits of impoverished Americans.

Unlike most people, who may shake their heads in disapproval when they see someone paying for a cart full of processed foods with food stamps, Storms used her position to take decisive action. She sponsored a bill†that would prohibit Floridians from purchasing “nonstaple, unhealthy foods” with funds provided by the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Storms, who is a mother of four, feels that†at a time when Florida is cutting jobs and funding for many public health and assistance programs it’s wrong for people to indulge in sugary, fatty, highly-processed treats on the public dime.

“If we’re going to be cutting services across the board,” Storms told the LA Times, “then people can live without potato chips, without store-bought cookies, without their sodas.”

Storms also cited health concerns for impoverished individuals as a major motivator behind the bill, which†was recently approved by the committee on child and elderly affairs that she chairs. A recent survey by the Center for Disease Control found that about one-third of U.S. adults (33.8%) are obese, while approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2ó19 years are obese.

Highly-processed foods and beverages containing large percentages of sugar and fat have been directly linked to America’s obesity epidemic, yet the USDA has been reluctant to create health-based restrictions on what can and cannot be purchased with food stamps.

Florida’s proposed legislation is only the latest in a rapidly growing number of local governments attempting to restrict food stamp purchases. Critics of these laws say that they unfairly restrict food choices for those who are poor.

Related Reading:

Fast Food Chains Lobby States For Food Stamp Allowances

Pennsylvania To Start Means Testing For Food Stamps

Mother Denied Food Stamps Shoots Kids, Kills Self

Image Credit: Flickr – USDAgov

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214 comments

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2:52AM PDT on Oct 25, 2012

Thank you for sharing :)

8:30AM PDT on Oct 24, 2012

I think the important thing to remember is WHY people apply for food stamps in the first place -- because they supposedly cannot afford to eat, period. So the job of the food stamps is to help provide that basic nutrition. Sure, it's nice to have treats, but anything above and beyond the basics is up to the individual.

5:05PM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

Well at least the "small government" group has come out of our bedrooms long enough to dictate what people eat. Don't worry, they will be back telling you who you can sleep with soon enough.

5:01PM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

Food stamps should be used for food. If one wants to eat crap, collect aluminum cans or bottles for the deposit, and buy junk food with that.

11:21AM PDT on Oct 21, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

6:26PM PDT on Jun 8, 2012

good. they should be banned. if you need to feed your family, you need to feed them properly, with healthy foods that are not just empty sugars and fats. if the government is paying for your food, they should be able to dictate that you buy healthy foods with it

12:02PM PDT on May 13, 2012

just give them the nutritious food; forget food stamps...

12:00PM PDT on May 13, 2012

good idea...

11:50AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

i couldn't agree more. food stamps should only be allowed to be used on healthful whole foods, not junk food. not only are whole, unprocessed foods better for your body, but they make you feel full longer (more satisfied), and are cheaper than processed foods. Not to mention all the packaging that comes with processed foods which is bad for the environment.

9:21AM PST on Feb 16, 2012

In the late 70's, I worked at a grocery store. Processed foods were taxed back then. Taxable food items could not be paid for using food stamps. So, if someone was using food stamps, we had to ring up their sodas, cookies, chips, candy, bakery goods, etc. seperately from their real food items. They had to pay for those luxury items themselves. It made sense to me then and still does. The government shouldn't be paying for unnecessary items for people. Food stamps should only cover REAL food, not imitations.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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