SNAP Accuracy in Action Now Available here:
Income Calculation – July 2015
UPDATED for 2014: SNAP Civil Rights Training; a MANDATORY class
This is a reminder to all staff to take the yearly mandatory Civil Rights Training.
This training is online and can be completed in about 10 minutes. To get to the training please visit the Learning Center. Once Logged in, go to Courses & Registration then to Find a Course and Register. From there, search for Course #: C03640 or keywords “civil rights”. This will take you to the start page.
Remember this training is MANDATORY once a calendar year!!
Limiting what can be purchased with SNAP
Multiple times a week the policy unit is asked about limiting the foods which may be purchased with SNAP benefits. Because the SNAP program is a Federal program, Oregon is bound by the laws and regulations both Congress and FNS have set fourth. FNS has done much research around limiting purchases. Here is an article that can be found on the FNS website.
“Junk Food” & Luxury Items
The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) defines eligible food as any food or food product for home consumption and also includes seeds and plants which produce food for consumption by SNAP households. The Act precludes the following items from being purchased with SNAP benefits: alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, hot food and any food sold for on-premises consumption. Nonfood items such as pet foods, soaps, paper products, medicines and vitamins, household supplies, grooming items, and cosmetics, also are ineligible for purchase with SNAP benefits.
- Soft drinks, candy, cookies, snack crackers, and ice cream are food items and are therefore eligible items
- Seafood, steak, and bakery cakes are also food items and are therefore eligible items
Since the current definition of food is a specific part of the Act, any change to this definition would require action by a member of Congress. Several times in the history of SNAP, Congress had considered placing limits on the types of food that could be purchased with program benefits. However, they concluded that designating foods as luxury or non-nutritious would be administratively costly and burdensome. Further detailed information about the challenges of restricting the use of SNAP benefits can be found here:
When considering the eligibility of energy drinks, and other branded products, the primary determinant is the type of product label chosen by the manufacturer to conform to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines:
- Energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label are eligible foods
Energy drinks that have a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements, and are therefore not eligible
Have you ever wondered what can be purchased with food benefits? Have you ever been asked?
Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) has a web page that you can visit to find out!
http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/faqs.htm. Specifically Number 10. Or at http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm
Eligible Food Items
Households CAN use SNAP benefits to buy:
- Foods for the household to eat, such as:
- breads and cereals
- fruits and vegetables;
- meats, fish and poultry;
- and dairy products.
- Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.
In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.
Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:
- Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco;
- Any nonfood items, such as:
- pet foods;
- soaps, paper products;
- and household supplies.
- Vitamins and medicines.
- Food that will be eaten in the store.
- Hot foods.