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Trump budget would cut fresh fruits and vegetables from food stamp program

Trump budget would cut fresh fruits and vegetables from food stamp program

The Trump administration wants to slash food aid to low-income families and make up the difference with a box of canned goods - a change that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney described in a briefing as a "Blue Apron-type program". Households receiving at least $90 in combined SNAP/EBT benefits would instead get about half of that benefit in the form of a food box.

Approximately 16.4 million households, or about 81 percent of households on food stamps would be impacted by this proposal.

It was announced Monday the the new budget proposal from the Trump administration included drastic changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, (better known as SNAP, or the old term food stamps) dropping numerous items beneficiaries receive in an effort to reduce costs.

The box, coined as "USDA America's Harvest Box", would include food grown by American farmers including milk, juice, cereals, pasta, canned produce, and more, according to the administration's proposal.

The current SNAP program provides food stamp recipients with a debit card which allows them to choose which foods to buy with strict rules on items that can be purchased.

In the 2019 budget and in interviews with reporters, Trump officials say they want to cut those cash benefits in half and replace them with nonperishable food. That document shows the SNAP program will be cut by $5.26 billion in the 2019 budget compared to the 2017 cost. "The boxes also will not contain any fresh fruit or vegetables". So instead of giving families food stamps, Trump and his administration will seek to give food boxes.




Mulvaney also said that it will give people more nutritious options while saving the government money.

The Food Research and Action Center, a prominent non-profit group, told Politico the harvest box idea would be "costly, inefficient, stigmatizing, and prone to failure".

'It lowers the cost to us because we can buy prices at wholesale, whereas they have to buy it at retail.

"The first thing that jumped out was the huge cut", said Marcia Wells, who works at the Mid-South Food Bank. The decision would be based on nutrition standards used for other programs including the Emergency Food Assistance Program. "SNAP is one of the most efficient federal social safety net programs, because retailers are the linchpin of a successful public-private partnership". They feared it would upend a much-needed benefit for more than 80% of those in the program.

Gruber also says they send educators into community to help empower people with the tools to shop healthy on a budget, something this plan would counteract.

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