QOTD: Should Food Stamps Be Used For Fast Food?
Food stamps have been used for decades to give people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it – a chance to create hot meals. The only stipulation with the program is that you can’t buy prepared foods and must make your own meals. However, that may soon change in Oklahoma.
Yum! Brands, the company behind restaurants like KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver’s and A&W, is the driving force pushing the proposal.
The number of businesses across the country accepting food stamps grew by one-third in the past six years. If the National Restaurant Association has its way, the number will continue to rise with fast food, but members of the medical community say it could be dangerous.
“That would mess up everything,” said one concerned person in downtown Oklahoma City Wednesday. “I just don’t think restaurants should take food stamps.”
The USDA generally prohibits food stamps from being used on prepared foods, but made an exception about four decades ago for the homeless, elderly and disabled who may not be able to cook their own meals.
The obvious con is the health factor. Studies show more people eating fast food typically leads to higher obesity rates.
“We’re very much into healthy food choices,” said Kathie Wright, Oklahoma’s SNAP program manager at DHS.
“I can say I would not rule it out,” said Wright. “If you can go to a restaurant and buy a healthy sandwich, then, I would want to look into that for our recipients.”
The USDA must approve an application from each state that decides to add restaurants to their programs.
I’m thinking that most of the foods offered by Yum! just aren’t healthy choices and being able to use food stamps at fast food restaurants is just another way to keep folks from being healthy.
Most of the grocery stores and restaurants in urban areas do not offer a wide variety of healthy options for their customers – which is one of the reasons black Americans are disproportionately obese.
Why couldn’t a healthier restaurant chain such as Chipotle, offer to take food stamps?