April 29, 2013

THE COUNTRY’S IN THE VERY BEST OF HANDS: Food stamps pay for billions in junk food, but USDA won’t say how much. “Food stamp participation is at an all-time high, costing taxpayers $80 billion in 2012 alone, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture refuses to make public how much of that money pays for junk food. A 2012 Yale study estimated Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits, formerly called food stamps, pay for $2 billion in sugary drinks alone every year. A 2010 study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest said that spending was even higher, estimating soda companies reap as much as $4 billion each year in SNAP money. SNAP benefits are legally allowed to pay for everything from ice cream to soda. But because the USDA doesn’t make food stamp purchase data public, it’s difficult to know how much that junk food costs taxpayers.”