The Fast Food Future of Food Stamps

By: Dylan Rodgers

We have now reached a new national record:  over 45 million people depend on SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (i.e. food stamps), an incredible figure considering that it stands for roughly 15 percent of the US population.  SNAP not only helps struggling citizens eat, it also has taken on the task of providing at least some nutritional education and guidance.

Since the beginning, food stamps have a regulated purchasing power only of unprepared foods (groceries to be exact).  This may all change soon because Yum! Brands-owner of Taco Bell, KFC, Long John Silver's and Pizza Hut-is putting pressure on Congress to allow fast food restaurants to make transactions using food stamps.  A regulation like this could change the game entirely.

If this passes, any restaurants involved will receive their share of the billions of taxes pump into SNAP each year.  As sweet as this deal might be for Yum! Brands, the results will be equally horrific for the percentage of the 45 million SNAP members who would eat fast food every meal of every day.  If you think we have an obesity problem now, this would throw open the flood gates and crush the already struggling people with oily, fat-laden, heart-stopping gunk; the proverbial Pandora's Box of heart attacks.

Here we have a government agency entrusted to uphold the best interests of people and their nutrition potentially getting into bed with a company that helps cause heart disease-the number 1 killer of people in the US.

And there are actually people outside of the fast food industry who are backing this up.  In their argument, they accuse people who aren't on board with this of not caring whether people starve.  That is just absurd.

The issue is that the agencies with authority in nutrition shouldn't abuse it by suddenly promoting extremely mal-nutritious and, let's face it, toxic food.  If the SNAP choices must change, why not get on board with restaurants who promote healthy, fresh foods?  I mean, it only affects 45 million people anyway.

Photo: Scott Drzyzga 

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