Maine Asks Federal Gov't to Block Food Stamp Purchases of Sugary Drinks

February 22, 2017

The state of Maine asked the federal government to allow the state to “ban” people in Maine who are food stamps/SNAP recipients from buying soda pop/sugary drinks/candy. The state’s Dept. of Health and Human Services Commissioner, Mary Mayhew, said Maine has rising obesity levels and that it costs the state $700 million on obesity-related medical expenses. 

She said around $13 million in food stamp money is spent in Maine a year on sugary drinks and candy. 

The food stamp program, called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), is a federal program so Maine would need to get a federal waiver in order to change what food items are covered under the state’s SNAP program. 

This is the second time Maine asked for this waiver — last year the Obama administration denied it, and Maine is hoping the Trump administration will agree. 

A study revealed that in 2011, 10% of SNAP/Food Stamp money was used on sugary beverages and it is the second biggest spending category — around $600 million spent. The first category is meat/poultry/seafood.

Last year an Obama administration official said sweetened beverage consumption is an issue for all households in America, not just SNAP users. 

What do you think — is “banning” using SNAP funds for sugary beverages/candy a good idea or is it government overreach? 

http://www.wmtw.com/.../maine-dhhs-asks-for.../8947666

 

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