Trump Administration ‘Food Box’ SNAP Proposal Sparks Concern

Photo from the USDA's SNAP home page.

Photo from the USDA's SNAP home page.

The Trump Administration’s 2019 budget proposal calls for a change to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that would replace current benefits with a “USDA Foods package.” The food box would contain items like “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.”

Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Chief Public Policy Officer Jennifer Hatcher responded yesterday to the Trump Administration’s 2019 budget proposal saying, “The section in the president’s 2019 budget entitled ‘Reforming the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)’ certainly makes major changes, but not changes that SNAP-authorized food retailers see as positive or even efficient.

“FMI and our members have worked with the House and Senate Agriculture Committees and the USDA over several decades to achieve a national system, utilizing existing commercial infrastructure and technology to achieve the greatest efficiency, availability and lowest cost. As we understand the proposal in the president’s budget to create a USDA commodity foods box of staples, each of these achievements would be lost.

“Perhaps this proposal would save money in one account, but based on our decades of experience in the program, it would increase costs in other areas that would negate any savings. As the private partners with the government ensuring efficient redemption of SNAP benefits, retailers are looking to the administration to reduce red tape and regulations, not increase them with proposals such as this one.”

About The Author

A 10-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.