Gov't Rejects Proposal for Food Stamp Junk Food Ban
A representative from Maine is looking to block the state's food stamp program if beneficiaries' options include junk food, without the help from the federal government. Republican Govenor Paul LePage contacted U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to condemn the agency for denying Maine's request. LePage claims President Obama's administration is vigilant in supervising school menus but will overlook junk food because of powerful food group lobbyists. Maine's obesity and diabetes statistics are on the rise, claims LePage, who said he'll seek "to implement reform unilaterally or cease Maine's administration of the food stamp program altogether." LePage suggested the federal government should administer Maine's program. The federal government has never approved anything like LePage's proposal, but will support incentives that encourage recipients to eat healthy. Plus, bans on access to certain kinds of food could lead to a type of insecurity that might contribute to the steady rise of obesity and diabetes. Many who depend on food pantries are not underfed, but obese and diabetic. Experts discovered back in 2014, one-third of the 15.5 million households served by Feeding America, a hunger-relief organization, had a household member with diabetes. Inconsistent access to food, and inexpensive food is often low in fiber and high in carbohydrates, which contribute to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. By offering access to fresh vegetables and healthier snack options, food bank recipients have better control of their food intake and diabetes. Everyone is aware what food is good for you, and what to avoid, but it's up to the individual to implement, not a politician.