Should we allow fast-food restaurants to accept Food Stamps?  Well, the largest fast-food corporation Yum! Brands, which owns well known fast-food chains Taco Bell and KFC, is leading a campaign to pressure their home state of Kentucky allow Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to purchase items with food stamps.  The cheap food suppliers are receiving considerable support from the Coalition for the Homeless, which claims the provision will help people who live in “food deserts” to feed their families affordably.

This provision is a controversial idea since the government would be using tax dollars to help bring large corporations additional customers, even making some consumers dependent on their restaurants. Even though it’s not new for the government to subsidize large corporations, such as oil and agriculture, but, in theory, those corporations indirectly and directly help the government function.  This support seems to be a clear sign of corporate interests infringing on the common good. or is it?

Most of the food people can afford to purchase from small bodegas and supermarkets are just different versions of the processed food many fast-food restaurants sale.  The overabundance of processed corn, wheat, soy, and meat makes a favorable case for corporations looking to cash in on government assistance, but it also highlights the disfunction and profiteering in the American food and nutrition industries.

It seems Americans need a serious discussion and action taken on behalf of the people in regards to where their tax money is going

In a story by the Consumerist via the SeattlePI.com, clinical dietitian Tim Gustafson is quoted saying:

If government can afford to subsidize big industries – and let’s face it, allowing fast food places to accept food stamps is ultimately a subsidy program for the corporations who own them – it can also show some support for small produce farms. Our taxes would be well spent by keeping healthy nutrition affordable for everyone and by investing in our local agriculture at the same time. Food stamps should be made welcome at all farmers markets and urban farms.

Fast-food companies and their lobbyists may have a good point when it comes to freedom of choice for the consumer, but these corporations already receive benefits when purchasing food wholesale from Big Agriculture, which also receives huge subsidies from the government to produce said food.

The people whose voice gets lost in this debate are the unfortunate who have to choose between fast-food restaurants or large chain grocery stores and don’t have enough money to purchase real, living, non-GMO food.

FrugiVoice:  What do you feel about States allowing fast-food restaurants to accept food stamps? Sound off, where do you stand?

 

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8 Comments

  1. Allowing people to use their EBT benefits at fast food stores would only contribute to the epidemics of diabetes, heart disease and hypertension that are such a huge problem in urban communities. There are plenty of alternatives to this policy (some of which were mentioned in this article) that are MUCH better strategies for solving urban hunger. We need to invest in our communities and break the cycle of poverty that exists there. Everyone, including poor people, deserves to eat food that hasn’t been pumped full of random chemicals and antibiotics. Our nation’s food policies should reflect that.

  2. No way! Where is the investment in urban farms in food deserts! Come on, this is teetering on fascism! and I hate using Tea Party verbiage…

  3. Instead of allowing food stamps to be used for fast food — which usually has 0 nutritional value and is high in sodium, fat, and calories — the government should encourage grocery stores to come into food desert communities? Give people the opportunity to purchase food that is healthy for them, instead of subsidizing their poor nutrition.

  4. People ought to be able to choose where and what they eat, so yes, fast food restaurants should accept food stamps. I think a follow-up question is, what incentives are being used and can be used to encourage people buying food with public benefits to buy healthier food (like double value at farmers markets) and to encourage food vendors and restaurants with healthy food to accept food stamps?

  5. Food stamp monies were originally intended to supplement a families grocery shopping not restaurant patronage. The whole idea is to promote better nutrition not just filling stomachs. Like most things that are subsidized, corruption of concepts, intent and spirit always seems to occur. This is another example of welfare abuse.

  6. My tax dollars shouldn’t be used for people to buy unhealthy crap, period. If you want to eat fast food do it on your own dime, not the tax payers and that extends to all of the high sodium, preservative filled, instant meals too. In my opinion, if on food stamps you should ONLY be allowed to buy grains, dairy, fresh/frozen veggies, fruit, beans, and meat and in order to get those food stamps you should be required to take a nutrition classes, cooking class, and a class on urban gardening while being STRONGLY encouraged to start their own if not work in a community sponsored one.

  7. I just think that using food stamps for fast food restaurants is cheap and distasteful! It would only add more to the health crisis.

  8. Only 50% of us are paying taxes at present. I work at a supermarket and the EBT program was renamed the SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program.) It doesn’t seem that it is supplemental and certainly a good number of the items that people buy are not nutritional i.e. frozen pizzas. I don’t mind helping but I think that the program should only allow dairy products, meat, vegetables, juice, and whole grains. As for using them at restaurants, my answer is NO. Prepare your food at home and teach your children to cook, too.

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