The parent company of some of the nation’s biggest fast food chains is interested in allowing customers to use their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance program benefits-better known as food stamps-in their stores. Yum! Brands, which owns Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and Long John Silvers, feels that the government should expand its list of approved SNAP vendors to include fast food; as convenience and ‘dollar’ stores have started accepting food stamps, it’s not impossible that the program will continue to become more inclusive.
Arizona, Michigan and parts of California already allow SNAP recipients to purchase fast foods with their benefit funds. However, in most places, the USDA does not allow food stamps to be used to buy prepared foods, including pre-made sandwiches and hot meals from grocery stores.
As far as the health factor, so long as you can use food stamps to purchase White Castle-brand frozen hamburgers, Pepsi and Tyson’s fried chicken, it’s impossible to argue that using SNAP benefits at KFC is going to have a direct correlation on public health. The person who would trick away their entire food stamp budget for the month at Pizza Hut wasn’t going to be cooking boneless skinless chicken breasts and spinach if they didn’t have the option.
While some could argue that it is ‘unfair’ for SNAP recipients to have the convenience of purchasing fast food considering that their food budget is subsidized by the government, do remember that these benefits are not simply made available to this ghost class of people who will never work to do anything other than collect taxpayer money. Food stamp benefits are given to people who can prove that their income is not great enough to include a sufficient food budget, many of whom are working folks. If you are working to support your family, is it such a bad thing that you may be able to bring home a bucket of Original Recipe to have a bit more time to go over homework with your kids? Or should prepared meals be considered a class privilege?