Florida latest state to try to control food stamp purchases

Nancy Marshall-Genzer Jan 30, 2012

Adriene Hill: Florida is the latest state to try to limit the types of foods people can buy with food stamps. A lawmaker there has authored a bill that would keep people from using government assistance to buy cookies, candy and chips.

For more, we have Maketplace’s Nancy Marshall-Genzer.

Nancy Marshall-Genzer: Florida was following the lead of several states. California, Texas and Illinois have all seen legislation barring people from using food stamps to buy junk food. None of the bills passed.

In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg wanted make it illegal for people to buy soda with food stamps. But the food stamp program, now known as SNAP, is run by the agriculture department here in Washington, and it said no.

Patrick Hughes is a policy analyst at Height Analytics.

Patrick Hughes: The agriculture department seems to have steered away from explicit standards, instead promoting healthy eating and other incentive-based options.

Options that might stand a better chance of getting the go ahead, things like giving food stamp recipients a discount on fruits and veggies. Food stamp usage has shot up more than 60 percent since the start of the recession. Almost 45 million Americans are now on food stamps — and that’s gotten a lot of politicians’ attention.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall-Genzer for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.