Bill would ban use of food stamps for soda in Florida

FILE - This Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014, file photo, shows soft drinks for sale at K & D Market in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

TALLAHASSEE, FL (WCMH) – A bill recently introduced in the Florida legislature proposes banning the use of food stamp benefits to purchase soda.

The bill would require the Florida Department of Children and Families to seek a waiver of federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program requirements and ban the use of SNAP benefits for soft drinks.

The bill defines soft drinks as a flavored carbonated beverage that is sweetened with natural or artificial sweeteners.

The State of Maine was denied a similar waiver on 2016. According to the Bangor Daily News, the state is trying again this year.

Under current federal regulations, the following items are ineligible for purchase using SNAP funds.

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Any nonfood items, such as:
    • pet foods
    • soaps, paper products
    • household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods

Junk foods like soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are eligible items for SNAP participants.

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