Under new federal guidelines, fewer stores might accept food stamps

2 years 5 months 2 weeks ago Friday, December 09 2016 Dec 9, 2016 Friday, December 09, 2016 7:01:00 PM CST December 09, 2016 in News
By: Kristen Reesor, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - In an effort to increase access to healthy food choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced new standards for retailers in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, Thursday.

This change might affect more than 770,000 Missourians who use food stamps. 

The updated regulations increase the amount and variety of staple foods retailers must carry. Specifically, stores need to provide at least seven varieties of food in four categories: vegetable or fruits; dairy products; meat, poultry or fish; and bread or cereals.

The minimum number of items is 12, but starting in about a year, it jumps to 84. If a store doesn't increase its stock, customers can no longer use food stamps to buy products at the store. 

What might cause issues is how the regulations classify items. For example, apples, carrots and pears will be considered three separate items. But two different kinds of cereals will still be considered the same item, because they contain a similar main ingredient.

In addition to supermarkets, dozens of gas stations and convenience stores in Columbia accept food stamps. 

A Phillips 66 sales clerk, Cal Murray, said he thinks the store will adapt to the new requirements. "We have pretty much everything that they say," he said. "Everything but, like, meats and stuff like that, but I'm pretty sure we're just gonna get sliced meats."

Murray said he thinks offering more variety of SNAP-eligible foods will boost sales. He said, "A lot of times people don't really want to spend too much, so they kind of get a bare minimum of stuff and it's not, like, great, so if there's more variety of stuff to choose from, I feel like they're going to be more willing to buy other stuff."

But under the new regulations, many gas stations might not remain eligible. According to the USDA press release, "Changes to the definition of accessory foods ensure that stores are not able to participate in SNAP by selling primarily snack foods." The department lists desserts, spices, most beverages, seasonings and snacks as accessory food items. 

Deanne Stubblefield, the family development supervisor at Central Missouri Community Action, said the updated standards will have positive and negative consequences. "If they're not able to access more of what is considered unhealthy-type things, like chips and soda and whatnot, [that] could be a plus," she said.

But, she also said, "For those that potentially lack transportation or those types of things, maybe a convenience store or gas station is the closest that they're able to walk to or to get to, where they may not have a large selection of things." 

Accessing SNAP-eligible food could be a problem for people who live in food deserts, locations that don't have easy access to fresh or healthy foods.

"The concern is: Do those individuals have access to be able to get to a grocery store, or what we would consider a traditional grocery store, or is the only thing in their area or close for them to be able to get to what we would consider more of the convenience type store where you see more of the accessory type foods?," Stubblefield said.

Stubblefield said people might have to rely on friends to drive them to the store or pay for a taxi, but they might not have the funds to pay for gas or a taxi fare.

"The intention is always meant to be a good one, but there's always gonna be drawbacks," she said. 

The USDA does provide an exception for stores that do not meet the required criteria. If the store is in an isolated or underserved community, it might still be considered eligible. The final rule can be found here.

More News

Grid
List
ROCHEPORT – Severe flooding is happening across mid-Missouri and in Rocheport the flooding is leaving a finacial impact on businesses.... More >>
16 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 7:57:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
ELDON - Married couple and business partners Jennifer and Jeremy Hart are counting their blessings after the historic motel they... More >>
19 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 4:33:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Twenty years after the Columbine High School shooting, many parents have only tepid confidence in school safety, according... More >>
20 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 3:16:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department released an official request for volunteers Saturday morning following Wednesday's EF-3 tornado.... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:56:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
ELDON - Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) spent his Saturday touring the path of destruction Wednesday's tornadoes left behind. Hawley... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:39:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Police Department is investigating two incidents of alleged looting involving three individuals Friday afternoon... More >>
22 hours ago Saturday, May 25 2019 May 25, 2019 Saturday, May 25, 2019 1:18:00 PM CDT May 25, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Neighbors in Jefferson City were already watching the Missouri River rise, but no one planned on an... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 11:42:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - According to the Callaway County Sheriff's Office, water was over the runways at Jefferson City Airport in Callaway... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 8:09:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Coverage From Callaway
JEFFERSON CITY - Insurance companies will inspect and process claims for damaged homes over the weekend. Wednesday night's tornado badly... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:48:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - A man involved in a car crash on I-70 May 16 has died from his injuries. William... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:31:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
BOONE COUNTY - The Missouri River has completely overflowed its banks near the end of South Route N. near Ashland.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 6:16:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Jefferson City is offering instructions on how to get rid of the debris created by Wednesday's tornado.... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 5:08:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Insurance agents are warning people hit by Wednesday's tornado to be careful about signing repair contracts. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 3:26:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – Volunteers from all over Jefferson City are working to help those affected by the tornado. The... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 2:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
JEFFERSON CITY - Members from House of Refuge are keeping their faith after Wednesday's tornado completely destroyed their church. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 1:37:00 PM CDT May 24, 2019 in Top Stories
ROCHEPORT - The 11th annual Pedaler's Jamboree bike ride got a good start Friday, and Missouri River levels are falling.... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:47:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Mike Parson on Friday signed a bill that bans abortions on or beyond the... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 10:32:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri Task Force 1 has deactivated from Jefferson City after an EF-3 tornado swept through the area... More >>
2 days ago Friday, May 24 2019 May 24, 2019 Friday, May 24, 2019 9:11:00 AM CDT May 24, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 74°
1pm 78°
2pm 79°
3pm 81°
4pm 82°