Food stamp program needs junk food reformOct 2nd, 2009 | By Zach | Category: Columns, Featured Articles, Opinions
by Zach Becker
Soda pop. Potato chips. Candy. Pork rinds.
What do all these foods have in common?
Besides being totally unhealthy, all of the above are also food stamp eligible.
And this is for a program designed to help “low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health,” according to the USDA website.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, illnesses attributed to obesity accounted for 9.1 percent of all U.S. medical expenses ($78.5 billion) in 1998. Half of those costs were billed to Medicare and Medicaid.
The taxpayers are getting drilled both ways.
Granted, you can buy fruits, vegetables, milk, bread and other healthy products with food stamps cards.
However, I’ve worked in several grocery stores and I can tell you that in my experience the majority of food stamp money went straight to the pop, chip and candy isles.
Even if my experience is an aberration and the majority of our food stamp recipients do use the money for healthy food, why do we even make junk food an option for the program?
Toilet paper. Deodorant. Tooth paste. Shampoo.
What do these have in common?
None of the above products are food stamp eligible.
However, I would say all of these products are much more essential to “good health” than pop and candy.
It is not that I oppose a person’s right to eat junk food if they want. Heck, I love junk food. I just don’t think the taxpayers should be footing the bill.
Food stamps don’t cover alcohol or cigarettes. People on the program have to pay for those products out of their own pocket. Junk food should be in the same category.
Obesity is a big enough problem in this country right now. Our food stamp program is only making it worse. Time to end pork rind spending. Cut the junk.