USDA sets new standards for SNAP retailers
Dec. 12, 2016
by Erica Shaffer
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The agency approved a final rule that would increase participants' access to health foods.
WASHINGTON – Retailers authorized to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will be required to increase their inventories of health food options under a final rule released by the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA).
The final rule expands the number of food items required to participate in SNAP to a minimum of 84. Previously, retailers could qualify to participate in the program with a minimum inventory of 12 items. Multiple ingredient foods will continue to count toward retailer eligibility.
Additionally, USDA updated a regulatory requirement that specifies the threshold of hot and cold prepared foods sold that makes a location an ineligible restaurant rather than an eligible SNAP retailer. Under the new rule, the requirement accounts for foods heated and consumed on site after purchase.
“This final rule balances the need to improve the healthy staple foods available for purchase at participating stores, while maintaining food access for SNAP recipients in underserved rural and urban areas,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We received many helpful comments on the proposed rule and have modified the final rule in important ways to ensure that these dual goals are met. I am confident that this rule will ensure the retailers that participate in SNAP offer a variety of healthy foods for purchase and that SNAP recipients will continue to have access to the stores they need to be able to purchase food.”