USDA rules would increase food stamp access to healthy foods

FILE - In this April 29, 2014, file photo, fruit and vegetables are served during lunch at the Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, Va. Congress will have to decide soon whether it wants another food fight with first lady Michelle Obama and the administration over what’s served in the school lunch line. School food rules pitted Republicans seeking full exemptions for some schools against Obama in 2014, with the first lady declaring she'd fight "to the bitter end" to make sure kids have good nutrition. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Retailers that accept food stamps would have to start stocking a wider variety of healthy foods or face the loss of consumers under proposed rules expected to be announced by the Agriculture Department today.

The rules are designed to ensure people who use food stamps have better access to healthy foods. But they don’t dictate what people buy or eat. A person using food stamp dollars could still purchase as much junk food as they wanted, but they would at least have more options in the store to buy fruits, vegetables, dairy, meats and bread.

The rules would require stores to stock at least 168 items that the Agriculture Department considers healthy.

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