Big Business wants their cut from the food stamps.
Gotta keep those republicans happy.
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Currently, there are few restrictions on what can be purchased with Food Stamps, other than alcohol and prepared foods.
"Here's where the profits come in," Nestle says. "A vast percentage of Food Stamps' money goes into the pockets of soda companies and snack food companies...and also the stores that sell these foods."
Wal-Mart "gets a large fraction of Food Stamp dollars," which contributes 25?o 40?f revenue at select stores, according to Nestle. "These companies, therefore, have a vested interest in making sure Food Stamps are allowed for any purchase at all."
Funding for Food Stamps comes from the Farm Bill, which is currently being debated in Congress. "You can bet the food companies like it just the way it is and they are lobbying" to prevent restrictions on how Food Stamp dollars are spent, Nestle says.
Citing a recent report by public health lawyer Michele Simon at EatDrinkPolitics.com, Nestle recently made the following observations on her blog about "some of the politics behind efforts to maintain the status quo":
•Food industry groups such as the American Beverage Association and the Snack Food Association teamed up with anti-hunger groups to oppose health-oriented improvements to SNAP.
•Companies such as Cargill, PepsiCo, and Kroger lobbied Congress on SNAP, while also donating money to America's top anti-hunger organizations (who fear any changes to the Food Stamps program will result in benefit cuts).
•At least 9 states have proposed bills to make health-oriented improvements to SNAP, but none have passed, in part due to opposition from the food industry.
•Coca-Cola, the Corn Refiners of America, and Kraft Foods all lobbied against a Florida bill that aimed to disallow SNAP purchases for soda and junk food.
•Banks and other private contractors are reaping significant windfalls from the economic downturn and increasing SNAP participation.
"The point here is that banks that administer SNAP have a vested interest in keeping SNAP enrollments high and makers of junk foods have a vested interest in making sure that there are no restrictions on use of benefits," she writes.