By: Elissa McLerran, Public Policy Communications Manager
Grocers play an important role in the efficient delivery of safe, affordable food for all customers. One vehicle used in this delivery is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The U.S. House of Representatives Agriculture Committee held a hearing on the pros and cons of restricting SNAP food choice. FMI’s President and CEO Leslie Sarasin served as a witness for the hearing and shared the food retailer perspective on the complexity and importance of SNAP. Much of the conversation focused on the challenges with implementing restrictions and the benefits of incentives and education.
Joining FMI on the panel, witnesses from Brookings Institution, The Food Trust, and Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab discussed the added complexity and costs that restrictions would bring and the lack of data to support that the restriction would improve public health. Sarasin shared current nutrition education efforts that FMI member companies are engaged in, such as having registered dietitians and nutritionists in stores to help customers choose healthy options and National Family Meals Month®, the FMI Foundation’s initiative to increase the number of meals eaten by families at home.
Sarasin also highlighted the need for sound public policy as changes to the program are considered and implemented. FMI and member companies will continue to be an active and engaged partner in this endeavor of finding the best programmatic solution to achieve the Agriculture Committee’s goals.
In his closing remarks, Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) said that while this is likely not the last conversation on the topic, it is important to recognize that there is no silver bullet to address obesity, but he hopes that all of the SNAP and nutrition discussions will help all of the country make healthier decisions.
To view Sarasin’s full testimony, click here.