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?