USDA Plans Tougher Standards for SNAP C-stores

CHICAGO – Convenience stores that take part in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program will soon be required to offer "depth of stock," or more fruits, vegetables, grains and meats. This is due to a new provision in the recently enacted federal farm bill, according to a report.

"Our goal is really primarily to make sure SNAP households or low-income households or people with limited income have access to healthy foods," stated Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition, and consumer services for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Eighty-two percent of SNAP benefits are redeemed at supermarkets or big-box stores, Concannon said. Small stores in frequently low-income neighborhoods are the challenge, especially considering gas stations, dollar stores and corner stores tend to offer junk food.

According to Concannon, complaints that the U.S. Department of Agriculture food stamps standards are too low and often unenforced are common. "It's too minimal, frankly," he said.

USDA officials reportedly want to put the new rules in place by the end of this year. A comment period will follow their release, before any changes go into effect.

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