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USDA Proposes Policies to Improve Food Access, Healthy Choices in SNAP

Thursday, February 25, 2016

(North American Meat Institute)

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced a proposed rule that would amend the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to ensure that certain retail food stores authorized under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) offer a broader variety of healthy food choices. The stocking provisions in the proposed rule would require SNAP-authorized retail establishments to offer seven varieties of qualifying foods in four staple food groups for sale on a continuous basis, along with perishable foods in at least three of the four staple food groups. The staple foods groups are dairy products; breads and cereals; meats, poultry and fish; and fruits and vegetables. The proposal also calls for retailers to stock at least six units within each variety, leading to a total of at least 168 required food items per store.

Further, the proposed changes address depth of stock, amend the definition of staple foods and update the definition of ``retail food store'' to clarify when a retailer is a restaurant. The rulemaking also proposes that FNS begin disclosing to the public specific information about retailers who have violated SNAP rules. Public comments on the proposed rule will be accepted through April 18, 2016, and can be submitted either online or by mail to Vicky Robinson, Chief, Retailer Management and Issuance Branch, Retailer Policy and Management Division, Room 418, 3101 Park Center Drive, Alexandria, Virginia 22302.

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