January 18, 2017

TAX WHAT YOU DON'T WANT:

In the Shopping Cart of a Food Stamp Household: Lots of Soda (Anahad O'Connor, Jan. 13th, 2017, NY Times)

A government report shows that sugary soda is the most popular item in the shopping carts of families that receive federal food stamps. Karsten Moran for The New York Times
What do households on food stamps buy at the grocery store?

The answer was largely a mystery until now. The United States Department of Agriculture, which oversees the $74 billion food stamp program called SNAP, has published a detailed report that provides a glimpse into the shopping cart of the typical household that receives food stamps.

The findings show that the No. 1 purchases by SNAP households are soft drinks, which accounted for 5 percent of the dollars they spent on food. The category of 'sweetened beverages,' which includes soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks and sweetened teas, accounted for almost 10 percent of the dollars they spent on food. "In this sense, SNAP is a multibillion-dollar taxpayer subsidy of the soda industry," said Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University. "It's pretty shocking."

For years, dozens of cities, states and medical groups have urged changes to SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, to help improve nutrition among the 43 million poorest Americans who receive food stamps. Specifically, they have called for restrictions so that food stamps cannot be used to buy junk food or sugary soft drinks.

But the food and beverage industries have spent millions opposing such measures, and the U.S.D.A. has denied every request, saying that selectively banning certain foods would be unfair to food stamp users and create too much red tape.

As if sugar subsidies aren't already disgraceful...

Posted by at January 18, 2017 6:07 PM

  

« NEVER SHOULD HAVE BEEN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE: | Main | TULANE?: »