On Thursday, food policy experts said there may be some legal and political problems before Mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, who has plans to stop the food-stamp receivers to utilise their benefits to purchase sugar-sweetened drinks.
On Wednesday, the New York City pushed the United States Department of Agriculture to give approval to carry out a two-year study to prohibit 1.7 million food-stamp recipients to spend on soda and other beverages containing added sugar.
The Agriculture Department has no authority to grant such permission, say experts. The experts are also saying that the Government will have to do some changes in the laws regarding the food-stamp program.
According to the health officials, the two-year temporary measure would be done to see if the limitations would help in tackling the problem of childhood obesity and diabetes among the people of New York.
It is worth noting that over 40% public school children of the city are either obese or overweight and may suffer from severe health-related problems later in life.
The beverages industry believes that the Federal Government should not compel people to drink and eat only certain items and those who cannot afford it will be most affected with the move.
Joel Berg, who is the Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, said since 1977, the definition of food regarding the food-stamp program has not changed. Mr. Berg said, “Any food or food product for home consumption except alcoholic beverages, tobacco, and hot foods or hot food products ready for immediate consumption”.
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