The ban would affect beverages with more than 10 calories per 8 ounces, and would exclude fruit juices without added sugar, milk products and milk substitutes. A 12-ounce soda has 150 calories and the equivalent of 10 packets of sugar, according to the health department. City health officials say that drinking 12 ounces of soda a day can make a person gain 15 pounds a year.
Self-reported adult smoking peaked in 1954 at 45%, and remained at 40% or more through the early 1970s, but has since gradually declined. The average rate of smoking across the decades fell from 40% in the 1970s to 32% in the 1980s, 26% in the 1990s, and 24% since 2000.
Q. Are SNAP clients only allowed to purchase certain nutritious foods?
A. SNAP requirements for foods that can be purchased are the same as in the FSP. SNAP clients can buy all foods intended to be eaten at home. Some things, such as alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, foods hot at the point of sale, non-food items, vitamins or medicines and pet foods are not allowed.
Other study findings include:
* 90 percent of black children will be in a household that uses food stamps. This compares to 37 percent of white children.
* Nearly one-quarter of all American children will be in households that use food stamps for five or more years during childhood.
* 91 percent of children with single parents will be in a household receiving food stamps, compared to 37 percent of children in married households.
* Looking at race, marital status and education simultaneously, children who are black and whose head of household is not married with less than 12 years of education have a cumulative percentage of residing in a food stamp household of 97 percent by age 10.
Under a proposal the City Planning Commission unanimously approved on Wednesday, the city would offer zoning and tax incentives to spur the development of full-service grocery stores that devote a certain amount of space to fresh produce, meats, dairy and other perishables.
The plan — which has broad support among food policy experts, supermarket executives and City Council members, whose approval is needed — would permit developers to construct larger buildings than existing zoning would ordinarily allow, and give tax abatements and exemptions for approved stores in large swaths of northern Manhattan, central Brooklyn and the South Bronx, as well as downtown Jamaica in Queens.
New York Times
Hey how about this now: how about a government subsidy or tax abatement for development of supermarkets in poor neighborhoods - I think that would be great! Poor people ought to have more access to good food so that they can, perhaps, start making better choices beyond the soda issue. I'm all for common sense in public policy, especially when it comes to nutrition, and the soda ban would be a common sense measure. I think it's great that people want to look out for their less fortunate brothers and sisters, but I don't think we ought to hold up a ban on using government benefits to buy soda as an example of class warfare.
"to promote the general welfare, that the Nation’s abundance of food should be utilized cooperatively by the States, the Federal Government, and local governmental units to the maximum extent practicable to safeguard the health and well-being of the Nation’s population and raise levels of nutrition among low-income households. The Congress hereby finds that increased utilization of foods in establishing and maintaining adequate national levels of nutrition will tend to cause the distribution in a beneficial manner of our agricultural abundances and will strengthen our agricultural economy, as well as result in more orderly marketing and distribution of food."
The Food Stamp Program's conservative features appealed to southern politicians. First, food stamps were in-kind assistance, not cash benefits...the stamps were a food and agriculture program, not a general welfare program. As such, the program did not encourage the immorality and idleness many southerners ascribed to welfare. Eligible families could buy stamps which increased their purchasing power for food. Stamps could be redeemed only for food; they could not be squandered on drink or other idle pleasures...Not surprisingly, then, the conservative and business progressive leaders of the south generally welcomed food stamps."
I've been unsuccessful in finding free archived news articles that might enlighten us as to what kinds of debates happened on the floors of Congress that might have touched on the topic of alchol. But it looks to me as though the enormous expansion of the food stamp program in 1964 was utterly politically dependent on the prohibition of alcohol and tobbacco. Remember, in 1964 it was the beginning of the end of the FDR coalition and the start of the erosion of the solid Democratic south (a phenomenon which resulted ultimately in the election of Nixon and whose consequences we're still enduring today). Southern support was essential for this program - or any Great Society program - to pass, and it's clear that they liked using a market solution that drove business to retailers and provided an outlet for agricultural products over a direct food distribution program - another way in which it was designed to be palatable to social conservatives as well as liberals. For these reasons, and given the political realities of the day, I wonder if it was ever even contemplated to add non-food items to this legislation, or whether it was just widely assumed that including non-food items, especially those associated with the ills of addiction, to the list. Doing so might have scotched the program from the start. Again...the art of the possible.
So I'm sure the consquences of alcohol abuse were on the minds of the legislators, no doubt, and that they wanted to prevent the criticism the program would have drawn if public funds could be allowed to purchase alcohol or cigarettes. But I think it's important to note that alcohol and tobacco would fall outside the scope of the program anyway, because they simply aren't food, and are also subject to a host of distribution regulations not under the jurisdiction of the USDA. You could, in fact, make an argument that gunpowder and ammo should be supported in order to facilitate hunting, a very cost-effective way of securing food, but ammo isn't food and is regulated in other ways also, and not by the USDA.
In my view, it's just impossible to understand the food stamp program without understanding its origin in the agriculture agency and its combined purposes creating a market for American products as well as reducing malnutrition. It's structured as it is because of the realities and constraints of the agency and the legislation that maintains its programs. It's here to accomplish a few very narrow purposes, and nothing beyond that.
Personally, I would not be in support of a nutrition program that included the purchase of alcohol, and have no problem with soda being removed. In an ideal world, (well, first there'd be no need for the program, but if there were) I'd love to see only whole foods be approved. But I understand that it's impractical to assume that people have the ability, equipment, time or skill to cook with whole foods. I'd like to see a lot of changes to our food system. And I don't assert that the affluent eat better than the poor - they eat tons of processed crap and fast food, and every time I'm behind a wealthy suburban mom in the checkout line I'm pretty appalled at the number of shiny cardboard boxes and plastic packages in their carts as opposed to the amount of actual whole foodstuffs. But public funds aren't directly paying for those choices, so I have to tackle that issue using other forms of activism. I understand it's unpleasant to have one's food choices restricted, but participation in the program isn't actually required, and cash can be used to purchase items that won't be supported under public funds.
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