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No Soda for Food Stamp Users?

UPDATE [8/24/2011]: The USDA has rejected the proposal to ban soda purchases made with food stamps.

New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has asked federal officials to ban the use of food stamps to purchase soda and other sugary beverages. The agency in question is the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which regulates food stamps. The request would affect the 1.7 million recipients of food stamps in New York City. The state of New York has also signed onto the request.

The request is part of the mayor’s anti-obesity push. The initiative has placed stricter rules on school cafeteria lunches and launched a public education ad campaign. Bloomberg and Dr. Thomas Frieden, the current director of the CDC, unsuccessfully lobbied to place a tax on soda.

It is unclear what the Department of Agriculture will decide to do. George Hacker,  senior adviser for the Center for Science in the Public Interest recommends a public education campaign instead. “The world would be better, I think, if people limited their purchases of sugared beverages,” said Mr. Hacker. “However, there are a great many ethical reasons to consider why one would not want to stigmatize people on food stamps.”

In 2004, the Department of Agriculture refused to grant a similar request to the state of Minnesota. Minnesota asked to ban the use of food-stamps to purchase junk foods like soda and candy.

Via The New York Times.

Also Read:

Toy Ban Considered for Unhealthy Kid’s Meals

California Bans Trans Fats

Is Banning Fast Food on TV the Answer?

October 7th, 2010

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(Page 1 of 1, 4 total comments)


The government pretending to be concerned about how healthy a poor child is eating is just utterly ridiculous! Since the economy is in this shape, they would rather look for a good reason to make an example out of someone in need. It's not the poor people that have the economy suffering, it is the greedy wealth. YET YOU CLAIM YOU ARE ALL ABOUT HELP FOR THE POOR! Lol.... If you have never been on food stamps or in a less fortunate situation , you really should not speak on this subject!!!!!!!!!!

posted Oct 12th, 2010 3:15 am


maybe you should be more concerned with Government's wasteful spending. If you only realized that a very small portion of your tax dollars even goes to welfare---the rest to government wasteful spending, partying, lining their own pockets...etc. Maybe you should find out more about where your tax money is going before jumping on poor people for getting a meager amount a month to eat on... Here you are pretending to be concerned about the health of poor people, yet it was never a concern for you before. There are people who have worked and paid taxes during their life and should be entitled to purchase as they please. My mother was a registered nurse who is now disabled. She has made many contributions to people in need as well as churches, and homeless people. She has even gone as far as accepting homeless friends into our home when I was a little younger, and we did not serve them water while we enjoyed another beverage due to their circumstances. People do not ask to become disabled, sometimes things just happen. Should she not be able to purchase something of her choice because you don't like it when you see her in a grocery line? Grow Up people, and get the real facts. The Government wants you to believe that helping someone is a bad thing because they want more control and you seem to be falling for it so when they choose to raise taxes on some of these items you will cheer them on instead of realizing the manipulation it has caused. Here's a thought! If your child were in the need of an organ transplant, but were not able to afford it ,should they then become expendable for the so called more entitled person to live, because of their financial status putting a smile on a wealthy persons face?

posted Oct 12th, 2010 3:02 am


Agreed, food stamps should be used only toward wholesome, natural, nutritious foods. Soda hardly meets those requirements. As a tax payer paying for those stamps, and someone who only uses my own funds to buy healthy foods, there's no reason to fight this. Especially when our country is in the state that it is re: our health and obesity. The farmer's market in my town lets you exchange food stamps for tokens to use at booths. I think this is probably one of the greatest uses of food stamps ever.

posted Oct 7th, 2010 4:00 pm


I think that's a fabulous idea. Families on foodstamps should be spending the money on healthy, nutritious food. I'm not trying to sound holier-than-thou. We've been on foodstamps, but I never used them to buy soda and candy. Well, maybe the occassional pack of gummy bears when I was pregnant ;) Seriously though, I made an effort to buy whole foods. There were instances that I bought convenience food, but I always tried to be healthy and economical.

I fail to understand what "ethical reasons" George Hacker is talking about. Food stamps are not FREE and they aren't EARNED. Someone pays for them and they shouldn't be wasted on junk. I know in Washington, food stamps can be used for candy but not soda. At least, I think that's the rule. Sorry for the rant. Good article :)

posted Oct 7th, 2010 3:34 pm


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