Friday, April 8, 2011

Richard Raymond's Anti-Junk food bill continues forward

There's a move in the Texas Legislature to restrict what people can buy with the Lone Star Card.
The card is used by Food Stamp program recipients to purchase food at supermarkets and convenience stores across the state.

Texas State Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo) is sponsoring House Bill 1151 to ban junk food like potato chips, candy, sodas and cookies from Lone Star Card purchases.

Raymond said allowing junk food purchases on the card is promoting poor nutritional habits and encouraging obesity. The Laredo lawmaker  also said obesity and diabetes are also costing the state millions of dollars in health care.
From Richard Raymond's HB 1151: Prohibiting certain items to be purchased with SNAP
(b)  Except as provided by Subsection (c), a recipient may not use supplemental nutritional assistance benefits to purchase:
(1)  a sweetened beverage;
(2)  another sugary food item; or
(3)  any food item, regardless of natural or artificial sweetener content, that contains more than 10 grams of fat per serving, according to the manufacturer's label on the food or other documentation by the manufacturer, as required by state or federal law.
Will be still allowed:
(c)  The prohibition under Subsection (b) does not apply to the purchase of:
(1)  a milk product;
(2)  a milk substitute, including soy milk, rice milk, or almond milk;
(3)  a beverage in which the only added sweetener does not add calories to the beverage;
(4)  a beverage intended by the manufacturer for consumption by an infant that is commonly referred to as "infant formula";
(5)  a beverage intended by the manufacturer for use for weight reduction; or
(6)  a fruit or vegetable juice to which no sugar has been added.


  1. Time to go to the store to check out the labels on the food packaging.

  2. I have mixed feelings about this. I work on childhood obesity issues and I'm aware of several proposals around the nation that aim to limit food stamp recipients' purchasing power in this way. Problem is, I find it paternalistic. A diet of junk food is not the only cause of childhood obesity in this country. It's so much more complex. We buy junk food oftentimes because it costs less than fresh fruits and vegetables. And all the SNAP restrictions in the world won't address the saturation of fast food joints in low-income neighborhoods. We need to take a more holistic approach than what this legislation proposes to do, according to your post.

  3. Gilda, I appreciate you reading and posting. I'm sure it's vastly more complex than this bill may make it out to be. You work in the field has given you an invaluable perspective that most of us do not have. And yes, it is definitely paternalistic, I do not argue that point at all. In regards to what it does to the spending power of people of food stamps, is it possible that prohibiting certain snacks leaves more of the alloted benefits available to purchase non-snack foods? I would hope it does, but I would not be surprised if there is evidence to the contrary. As you say, it's a very complex issue. Obesity DOES have many causes and it's ravaging our country. Thanks for contributing.

  4. Thank YOU for bringing about some awareness. This is a really important issue for our community. Mexican-American boys, in particular, have the highest rates of childhood obesity.

  5. whatever happened to this bill