USDA Enforce Food Retailers to Stock More Food

Feb 18, 2016 05:00 AM EST | By Shilpa Chakravorty

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The agricultural department of Washington has come up with a new rule for the stocking of food by retailers who come under the Supplemental National Assistance Program (SNAP).

The upcoming rule will ensure that the 46 million food stamp users of America have access to more variety of healthy food, according to US News. Though they don't restrict the consumers to healthy food alone and allows the purchase of junk foods, it is just widening the varieties available to them.

As per the current rule, the food retailers need to stock three varieties in each of the four groups viz., fruits and vegetables, dairy, bread and cereals and meat, poultry and fish. However, the new rules have increased the three varieties to seven.

Also at least three groups must have perishable food items in their stock. Altogether the food retailer must stock 168 items. This will eventually reduce the number of convenience stores qualifying for the SNAP.

Kevin Concannon, the USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services, said in his statement, "USDA is committed to expanding access for SNAP participants to the types of foods that are important to a healthy diet". He also added that it is in concern for the population using the Food Stamps.

However, the political insight says that this new rule is framed in reply to the legislation passed by Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt, the chairperson of the subcommittee. He introduced a bill last Thursday that will force the states to make drug testing for the Food stamp recipients.

The act is not new to the USDA as it has overcome the Republicans' effort in the 2014 farm bill to cut the percentage from the SNAP during the negotiations. Now as the SNAP has become hit it is quite expected for such blows.

Vilsack expressed his concern about the bill as it will deny a family the access to the basic necessity and healthy food just because one of the family members is fighting with drug addiction.

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