Push to ban purchase of candy, soda with 'food stamps'

- Over 3 million people in Florida are provided food stamps through the "Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program" also known as SNAP.

Families are given a monthly allotment to spend on grocery items, some of which Florida Representative Ralph Massullo doesn't agree should be listed.

House Bill 593 would limit SNAP benefits, so that candy and soda can't be purchased with an EBT card. Grocery store owner Roshdi Kalini doesn't agree.

"You have to keep that because the family needs it, the kids need it. Mom can't afford, ya know?" says Kalini.

Some of the customers at his "mom and pop" grocery say they like the lawmaker's take and don't want junk food on the "food stamp" menu, "To feed your kids soda and candy, it's not nutritious for them in any way. It doesn't help them, so yeah I agree."

One customer tells us, and that's the explanation provided in the bill, that junk food is "nutrient poor but rich in calories, salt, and fats."

Under an explanation of SNAP benefits on FloridaFoodStamps.org, it says the program provides food to those who are otherwise "unable to afford nutritionally dense foods."

Shoppers we spoke to say candy and soda don't qualify, "When I was growing up my mom had food stamps but she spent it on food, I didn't get soda."

If approved, the bill would go into effect July 1.

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