Impact and Ethics of Excluding Sweetened Beverages From the SNAP Program
American journal of public health 2011 Nov; 101(11): 2037-43
The state of New York recently petitioned the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for permission to conduct a demonstration project in which sweetened beverages would be excluded from the foods eligible to be purchased with Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) benefits (i.e., food stamps) in New York City. The USDA and advocacy groups have raised objections to new SNAP restrictions such as the proposed exclusion of sweetened beverages. Some objections rest on empirical issues best resolved by demonstration projects or pilot studies of new exclusions. Other objections question the equity of excluding sweetened beverages from SNAP; these objections are important but not ethically decisive. The USDA should approve the proposed demonstration project and should encourage other pilot studies to assess the effects of excluding sweetened beverages from SNAP.
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