ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) shared its perspective on nutrition programs in support of a Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry committee hearing held today with the goal of garnering viewpoints for the 2018 Farm Bill. In a letter to Chairman, Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), FMI offered several key points:

“As private sector partners with the federal government serving as points of redemption for customers receiving benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the integrity, efficiency and accessibility of SNAP are top priorities for FMI and our participating retail members.

“Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have caused great destruction across the south over the past few weeks.  Families have lost their homes, FMI members have had stores damaged, infrastructure has been washed away and most sadly, lives have been lost.  Through this devastation and great loss, we have also seen inspiring stories of hope and support from across the country and incredible acts of charity and kindness.  Many of our members have been on the front lines not only ensuring their employees’ safety but quickly bringing stores back online and delivering much needed lifesaving resources (food, water, batteries, ice) to some of the hardest hit communities. 

“FMI would also like to emphasize how crucial the portability of SNAP has been during the past several weeks. Millions of Americans either evacuated or were displaced by these events. Regardless of which state they were living in, SNAP beneficiaries have been able to purchase foods with their benefits seamlessly and the grocery industry has been able to accept benefits from out of state without challenges.

“This success is an outcome of congressional action 16 years ago that allowed Texas and Florida SNAP participants to seek safety in neighboring states yet continue to use their benefits to feed their families. The EBT Interoperability and Portability Act (PL 106-171), signed into law in 2000, ensures that EBT transactions operated consistently from state to state.”

FMI will continue to work with the committee to find constructive ways to bring greater efficiencies to SNAP, while ensuring program integrity in the next Farm Bill. Read the letter