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GardenShare

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

USDA proposes new rules for stores regarding healthy food access

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced a proposed rule designed to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increased access to healthy foods by requiring stores that accept SNAP to stock a wider array of food choices.

The 2014 Farm Bill required USDA to develop regulations to ensure that stores that accept SNAP offer a broader variety of healthy food choices. The stocking provisions in the proposed rule would require SNAP-authorized retail establishments to offer a larger inventory and variety of healthy food options so that recipients have access to more healthy food choices. SNAP retailers would be required 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. In addition, the proposal 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.

USDA is working to ensure that access to food retailers is not hindered for SNAP participants as a result of this rule. Comments and suggestions on the proposed rule are encouraged to help USDA determine when, where, and if any flexibility should be provided to prevent reductions in SNAP client food access.


Comments on the proposed rule will be received for 60 (calendar) days. For more information see the Federal Register Notice.