A bill to remove soda and candy from the grocery lists of people with food stamps cleared its first hurdle.
State Representative Mary Bentley ran a similar bill in 2017 to require SNAP recipients to purchase healthier foods but it failed.
Everyone who spoke for or against the bill agree that the state’s high obesity rate is a problem. That’s ultimately why the Healthy Active Arkansas board supports it.
But groups like the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance oppose the bill saying it stigmatizes SNAP recipients and makes it more difficult on retailers.
“Based on the definitions cited in this bill, both of these would actually be considered candy products. So my granola bar would be considered candy. My Snickers bar here would be considered candy. However, my Twizzlers over here would not be considered candy. You don’t have to be a dietician to recognize that this is not considered a healthy product,” registered dietician Samantha Stadter says.
A report that has been referenced in the legislation found those receiving food stamps do not necessarily have any less of a healthy diet than their non-benefit receiving counterparts.
The bill is now headed to the house.