USDA proposes 'healthy options' rule for stores accepting food stamps

USDA proposes 'healthy options' rule for stores accepting food stamps
Published: Feb. 16, 2016 at 9:21 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 16, 2016 at 9:26 PM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - If you're using food stamps, would seeing healthier options make you put down the junk food?

The United States Department of Agriculture thinks so, and is expected to announce more rules for convenience stores accepting food stamps.

The USDA wants those smaller stores to carry healthier foods, but a small business owner said more rules will make it harder to stay in business.

"I'm a convenience store, there's no way that I can compare to a supermarket," Freddie Waddy said.

Freddie Waddy is the owner of Depot City. His store already sells the required amount of goods to accept food stamps, but possible new rules have him worried.

"It is tough because fruits and vegetables do expire and they expire very quickly," he said "It has to be sold very quickly to keep up."

A few years ago Congress required businesses like Waddy's to stock at least three varieties of foods in each of the four food groups.

With more than 40 million American using food stamps, the new rule will require businesses to stock seven varieties of food and at least 168 items the USDA considers healthy.

The goal is to give those who receive food stamps better options.

"I think it's a great idea, although I don't think it will be most effective," shopper Andrew Thompson said.

Thompson shops at local convenience stores. He said if lawmakers are going to require small businesses to have those healthy options, the government should pay for it.

"I believe it will be harmful to small business owners,' Thompson said. "They're buying things that people won't buy so their just wasting money and I believe if this law was to past it should be funding for business owners."

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