Many states have tried to limit what people can buy with food stamps. Most of the legislation has been unsuccessful or repealed, but a group in California is trying to bring more attention to the cause by revealing a new report that shows how sugary foods and drinks are paid for. The California watchdog group wants the U.S. government to disclose the information when policy makers are also trying to look for ways to curt tail diet-related illness.
This new debate is just another installment of the unnecessary stereotypes of food stamp shoppers. Remarks by politicians, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have suggested that food stamp recipients spend money on sugary snacks and sodas rather than healthy food. As food stamps are used by 1 in 7 Americans, it’s gained this focus because people who don’t use food stamps feel that they shouldn’t have to pay for others to buy unhealthy food products. However, the stereotype really isn’t helping anyone.
Food stamp challenges have revealed just how hard it is to maintain a healthy diet with food stamps. For one, “bad” food like the sugary snacks is just simply cheaper than all natural, organic health food products. In addition, processed food contains more preservatives, enabling it to last longer, and while being unhealthy, when you’re trying to stretch a budget, you simply can’t buy fresh, farm grown products every trip to the grocery store if you are living on an over $1.50 per day.
Both Coca-Cola and McDonald’s Corp have come out against the proposal, surprise, which brought other criticisms that the New York City Mayor wants to nanny its residents. However, the growing concern about the economic costs of the biggest assistance program in America has led to people considering ways to reduce spending. Unfortunately, many have turned to demonizing food stamp recipients, looking at food stamp shoppers’ carts and assessing what they “should” be buying.
“The federal government should not be fueling America’s epidemic of diet-related chronic disease with taxpayer money,” said Michele Simon, president of consulting group Eat Drink Politics, which created the report, showing that one-third of U.S. Adults and one-fifth of U.S. Children are obese.
However, the report is called “Food Stamps: Follow the Money” and calls for the disclosure of redemptions paid to individual retailers like Wal-Mart and fees paid to JP Morgan Chase and other banks that enable the EFT food stamp card. The new report would be in an effort to see what people are buying with food stamps and whether or not it’s the government’s priority to place more restrictions on what people can buy.
Anti-hunger charities and advocates have been opposed to legislation that would limit food purchases any further, saying that limited food options just creates more problems for food stamp shoppers, particularly with the high price of healthy food products.
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