The definition of dumb federal regulations

Your (the government’s) stated goal is to get food stamp recipients to eat healthier food.

Do you:

A) Limit the foods that food stamp recipients can purchase to healthier options or perhaps (using the electronic cards) require a certain percentage of food stamp purchases include fruits and vegetables? or

B) Require any store (including convenience stores) that accept food stamps stock at least three types of food in each of the four food groups making no demands on the food stamp recipients themselves?

If you are the federal government, you chose “B” (see the Albuquerque Journal story linked above or the federal comments page). Remember that grocery stores are a relatively low-margin business and that especially in densely-packed urban areas shelf space is at a premium. How many convenience stores clinging to existence will be driven out of business by this ridiculous regulation? Also, is there going to be a new corps of USDA employees checking store shelves to make sure they have adequate offerings in each food group? How much will that cost?

Lastly, while the idea of government micromanaging dietary choices is generally repugnant, if the government is going to regulate anyone, it should be recipients of a government program, not store owners.

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2 Replies to “The definition of dumb federal regulations”

  1. One of our most amusing political food fights took place a few years ago, when the New Mexico legislature passed a food tax that applied only to an arbitrary list of “unhealthy” food items. Nobody noticed that the “unhealthy” list included tortillas until after the law was passed. The Tortilla Tax quickly became a cause celebre until Gov. Richardson wisely vetoed it.

  2. The EBT is generally too liberal since it includes all kind of processed foods. The problem with half of the processed food is they lack real nutritional elements and contain wrong kinds of sugars. They exclude teas while allowing soda pop.

    I think the EBT needs reform to look at not only the types of foods but the nutritional value and cost per OZ / Lbs. Chicken and fish would be better then hotdogs. Lobster and shrimp while even steak are luxury items

    I think some snacks should be limited, as well as candy, to 5~10% of allotment. It would be hard for the agencies to police illegal food sales for cash but direct purchases could be regulated as most stores have electronic processing now.

    The other factors are those who are on special diets need medical exemptions per recommended food groups.

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