National and local health groups have sent an August 1, 2013, letter to U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging the agency
to allow demonstration projects “designed to promote healthier food and
beverage purchases” under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
(SNAP). Organizations such as the American Heart Association, American
Medical Association and Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) have
asked USDA to approve SNAP pilot projects as part of an effort to provide the
agency and Congress with the data needed “to make an informed decision
concerning ways to improve the nutritional quality of purchases through
the SNAP program.” According to a concurrent CSPI press release, these
projects “might include curbs on purchases of soda and other sugar drinks or
unhealthful foods.”

“Most Americans’ diets, including the diets of low-income folks served by
SNAP, are overflowing with soft drinks and woefully deficient in whole grains
and produce,” said CSPI Executive Director Michael Jacobson, who noted that
SNAP funds cannot be spent on tobacco or alcohol. “It just doesn’t make sense
to have the federal government subsidize the purchase of a product that
causes so much disease.”

Meanwhile, a recent Slate article has noted that despite the efforts of
consumer groups and legislators to limit the types of purchases permitted
under SNAP, anti-hunger groups the Congressional Hunger Center (CHC),
Food Research and Action Center and Share Our Strength have opposed
these measures. Highlighting the rift between public health advocates and
anti-hunger groups on this issue, the article reports that organizations such as
CHC have recently come under fire for accepting donations from corporations
even when those contributions have no strings attached. “At the Congressional
Hunger Center, we do not accept funds that have any restrictions on
them,” CHC Executive Director Ed Cooney was quoted as saying. See Slate.com,
August 6, 2013.

 

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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