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Missouri state senator David Sater’s current goal is to ensure that less people are using their food stamps to purchase inappropriate items, such as cupcakes, candy, and various types of soda. However, in this correlation, he’s not making any good impressions on large retailers which are completely hooked on using food stamps for funding. According to the senator, his bill would help to fix the issue of people using taxpayer money to purchase junk food by promoting that these funds should only be used for healthy food. Explaining the decision, Sater notes: “It’s a matter of using our money wisely for best products for our citizens … I mean it’s different if you were using your own money at the grocery store and buying a six pack of coke.”

Of course, his actions are not going unnoticed by the larger retailers in the area. He claims that his bill is being lobbied against by Wal-Mart and even the Missouri Grocers association. Grocer Association director, Dan Shaul says that he’s more worried about the health of the supermarkets in the area. “I think it’s better to educate people on how to eat healthier than try to limit their choices.” He believes that Sater’s bill would send the food stamp dollars across state lines to other stores where junk food would still be able to be purchased. Furthermore, another issue reflects that there’s no possible way of tracking how much money is actually spent on junk food by the use of these food stamp programs. This is because the USDA doesn’t even track the items that are being purchased with food stamp benefits provided.

However, there are some welfare cards which allow recipients to be able to withdraw cash from their card, known as TANF. These types of withdrawals are always tracked. At Wal-Mart, it’s believed that more than $14,965,587.57 has been withdrawn from the cards between the period of July 2011 and July 2012. Michelle Simon, author of the book, Appetite for Profit, noted “If we are going to start anywhere with saying how our federal tax dollars should be used for a nutrition program, it’s common sense that people should not be allowed to purchase soda.” Simons book focused on the national debate over the growing public health crisis that has been caused by the poor diet of many Americans.

She says that the large retailers are the real people who can’t live without food stamps within the country and expects that there will be a battle against this bill, adding “Wal-Mart sells all kinds of products and they want to make sure that SNAP dollars keep flowing through their stores.” Of course, Wal-Mart did not make any comments – however, the Missouri Grocers Association is still doing whatever they can to work towards defeating Sater’s bill before it becomes a law. There are benefits to the program and benefits against the problem. Only time will tell if a compromise can be met between the two.


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