Social Justice

Trump proposal will make spray cheese a 'staple food' for US food stamps

The US Department of Agriculture proposal looks to save money for food stores participating in food stamp programs for low-income families by allowing spray cheese, beef jerky and lemon juice to be classified as 'staple foods'

A portion of deviled ham with canned cheese on cracker isolated on a white background.

Cans of spray cheese and beef jerky would be classified as ‘staple foods’ for US families on food stamp programmes if a new Trump administration proposal is successful next week.

Olives and frozen pizzas would also fall in the ‘staple foods’ bracket under new Department of Agriculture food stamp programme designed to allow stores that participate in the country’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to save money.

Under the new proposals, which are open for public comment until June 4th, reports Bloomberg, cans of spray cheese could be classified as a dairy product, one of the four main staples of food types eligible for food stamps. Beef jerky would count as meat. Lemon juice would also come under a ‘fruit’ product.

Margo Wootan, vice president for nutrition at the nonprofit Center for Science in Public Interest, told Bloomberg: “You don’t have to have a nutrition degree to know that canned spray cheese sauce is not a staple food.”

The Department of Agriculture is estimating small stores that participate in the revised SNAP programme could save $500 each over five years.

Spray cheese is one of America’s most iconic processed foods. This week, studies from French and Spanish food scientists found that the amount of processed foods being eaten has risen dramatically, and people who consume high amounts of processed foods have a greater risk of cardiovascular diseases and an early death.

The changes come ahead of Trump’s state visit to the UK early next week, where we ourselves are undergoing a food poverty crisis.

Our special report into food and poverty, on the streets this week, dives into foodbanks, homeless diets, and the unsettling prospect of imported US chicken.

Dietician Isabel Rice, who works for homelessness charity Centrepoint, also reveals the shocking rise of food insecurity in Britain.

Read the full article in this week's Big Issue.
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