New York State Senators Patty Ritchie and Michael F. Nozzolio introduced new legislation that could limit purchases of junk food and luxury items for those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aka "food stamps". That means those relying on the government-funded EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards to pay for food won't be able to use them to buy things like lobster, steak, and cake.
“The goal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is to help low-income consumers make wise and healthy food choices—however in New York State, SNAP beneficiaries are able to use their taxpayer-funded EBT cards to purchase things like soda, candy, cake and other types of junk food and luxury items,” said Senator Patty Ritchie in a senate press release.
In the SNAP program, EBT cards can't be used for things like alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, pet food, and hot or prepared foods, but can be used to purchase "non-essential" items, as well as unhealthy foods contrary to the program’s purpose of promoting good nutrition. (Eating healthy on food stamps isn't exactly easy—even Gwyneth Paltrow failed at it.) But if the bill passes, EBT cards could only be used to purchase essential, healthy grocery items (milk, peanut butter, granola bars, etc.), and the Office of Temporary Disability Assistance would establish a list of luxury food items that are off limits.
While the bill would cut down on unacceptable spending of taxpayers dollars, it's also about improving public health. With obesity rates continuing to rise, the main goal of the bill is to battle the obesity epidemic by encouraging healthier food choices. As of 2014, New York had the 12th lowest obesity rate in the nation but still clocked in with a 27 percent obesity rate, according to the CDC. And if current national trends continue, Obesity Rates May Top 60 Percent in 13 States by 2030—scary.
The bill hasn't been passed yet, but it could mean a major change for those on SNAP. No matter what state you live in, try these 10 Money-Saving Weight Loss Tips.