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No energy drinks, no soda, no candy: Proposal would further regulate food stamp purchases

The proposal would ban people from using food stamps on energy drinks, candy and other junk foods.

A Texas state representative is pushing to ban food stamp recipients from using their food benefits on certain groceries.

The proposal would ban people from using food stamps on energy drinks and any beverages containing at least 54 milligrams of caffeine per 8 fluid ounces. This does not include coffee.

It would also ban people using food stamps from buying candy, some chips and cookies.

State Representative Briscoe Cain, R-Baytown, filed the bill, HB4364, on March 8 in House Committee for Human Services. 

People would still be able to use their SNAP benefits for fruit or vegetable juice.

“At-risk Texans and families who utilize the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are often the most susceptible to diabetes and the serious complications associated with it,” said Rep. Cain. 

HB 4364 seeks to curb the spread of diabetes and other health complications among Texans in at-risk populations by eliminating sugary drinks and snacks from the state’s nutrition assistance program,” he said.

Every year an estimated 263,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes in California. A 2015 study found that approximately 13 percent of the adult population in California have diabetes.

SNAP Benefit. 488 likes. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/SNAP is a nutrition program for families and individuals that meet certain income and resource guidelines.

In California, SNAP benefits is the CalFresh program and it encourages people to afford nutritional food. SNAP benefits limits a person's purchase to the following items: 

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Dairy products
  • Breads and cereals
  • Other foods such as snack foods and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Seeds and plants, which produce food for the household to eat.

Additionally, CalFresh is expanding its program to more eligible candidates. This summer, SSI — social security income — recipients will also be able to apply for the CalFresh program. The change comes after the reversal of Assembly Bill 1811, which made SSI recipients ineligible for CalFresh. 

For more information or to apply for CalFresh, click here.

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