INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The President’s newly proposed budget has changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (SNAP) that would affect millions of people.
Recipients would lose in part their ability to choose the food they buy. President Trump is proposing 80 percent of all SNAP recipients getting about half of their benefits in a “USDA Foods package”.
This package is being described in the budget as a mix of “shelf-stable milk, ready to eat cereals, pasta, peanut butter, beans and canned fruit and vegetables.” It will be up to states to decide how and what is distributed. The boxes would not include fresh fruits or vegetables.
It would also reduce the ability for families to go to the store and pick out their own food using their EBT card that is pre-loaded with benefits. According to the Trump administration, it would cut costs to the program by almost 30 percent.
Groups like The Produce Moms led by Lori Taylor are really shaken by this idea. Taylor says taking away fresh fruits and veggies from people who need it most would be detrimental to their health.
“The consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables directly correlates with positive health for all of us,” said Taylor. “There are ample studies out there that indicate how an increase consumption and increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables directly correlates with key triggers such as a decreased BMI for children and overall improvement for all people.”
Nutrition programs, including SNAP, made up about 80 percent of the USDA’s budget in the most recent farm bill. Congress didn’t pass Trump’s proposed budget for SNAP last year, when he wanted to cut the funding by a quarter.