In what one may expect from an administration headed by someone who’s tried to make haute cuisine out of McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s and has an apparent love affair with KFC, the Trump administration is proposing adding “foods” like spray-can cheese, beef jerky and stuffed olives to the list of nutritious staples people can buy with food stamps.
Critics of the idea say such a change would allow retailers, especially those in areas where there already is little access to nutritious food, to get funds for selling food with little nutritious value, the Washington Post reports.
The issue revolves around rules regarding the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly and commonly known as food stamps.
An Obama-era proposal meant to boost nutritious offerings for lower-income people, especially folks who often rely on the kinds of small corner stores and other food retailers found in local communities, would have required retailers accepting SNAP to stock seven varieties of key food staples, up from four, the Post explained.
If the Trump proposal goes through, things like nacho cheese dip and jerky could count as “staples.”
“They’re just trying to make it easier for stores that don’t carry a lot of real food to be able to take SNAP benefits,” Margo Wootan, vice president of nutrition for the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a critic of the proposal, told the Post.
“So, if you’re counting canned spray cheese, nacho cheese dip and beef jerky and olives as staple food, then the retailer can say, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ve got seven [varieties]’ as opposed to saying they have chicken and turkey and fish and other real foods available,” Wootan said.
Under the new proposal, which was introduced in April, canned spray cheese or canned cheese dipping sauce would count as a dairy, pimento-stuffed olives would count as a vegetable or fruit, and beef jerky would count as a meat.
The Department of Agriculture tells CBS the new proposal “provides greater regulatory flexibility to SNAP retailers, particularly small entities, in meeting the enhanced stocking requirements of the 2016 final rule.”