More than a million people in Tennessee use food stamps. Their freedom to buy whatever groceries they want may be at risk.
If state Representative Sheila Butt gets her way, a newly proposed bill would ban families using the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from buying unhealthy groceries. Specifically, foods high in calories, sugar and fat like ice cream and soda. The idea is that people will become overweight on the government’s bill.
Butt says “taxpayers are supporting unhealthy lifestyle choices on the front end and end up paying for resulting health care costs on the back end.”
The bill would fine businesses that sell junk food to SNAP users. Right now, the US Department of Agriculture says junk food is OK to buy on food stamps.
Critics say the bill punishes SNAP families for buying what others buy. Soft drinks were the No. 1 purchase of food-stamp families. However, among non-SNAP households, soda was the No. 2 purchase, according to a report from the USDA.
If the bill gets passed, it’ll take effect in July.
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