Have you read this article from the NY Times yet? “US Rejects Mayor’s Plan to Ban Use of Food Stamps to Buy Soda” — http://nyti.ms/pG4X22
NYC Mayor Bloomberg had proposed not allowing soda/sugary drinks to be purchased with SNAP (food stamp) money due to obesity concerns for a two-year experiment. The USDA, however, said that this would be too complex, and denied the proposal.
What do you think about this decision? It’s definitely a very complex issue. I think everyone can agree that the obesity epidemic is getting way out of hand — but now it’s a matter of how to best proceed.
I (Tina) have consistently sided with Joel Berg’s argument (in article) that “Instead of restricting the dietary choices of low-income residents, he said, city officials should reconsider how to increase the purchasing power of low-income residents so that they can buy food that is more nutritious.” But how can this be done? Is it realistic? (Farm Bill 2012!)
At the same time, though, I don’t know how ethical it is on the part of the nation to use government dollars to support the purchase of soda/sugary drinks/other foods that contribute to obesity. The USDA is really in a tough spot, because even if they did choose to limit the purchases of soda with SNAP dollars, the food industry would start fighting over the definition of “sugary drinks” (no 100% orange juice?). Is this realistic?