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This time it's trying to get the USDA to allow a ban as an addition to federal healthy-eating efforts. The state Department of Health and Human Services is once again seeking to ban food stamp recipients from using their benefits to purchase candy and soda. The department announced that it will seek a federal waiver to prohibit so-called junk food purchases within the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The state would use language developed after passage of the most recent state budget, designed to help Maine retailers identify foods that are subject to sales tax. DHHS said Maine spent more than $115 million in medical claims related to obesity in its Medicaid program, and 88 percent of Medicaid recipients receive SNAP benefits. Advocates for the poor, the soft-drink industry and the trade group representing grocers opposed the junk food bill when it came before the Legislature in April. SNAP benefits are loaded on a state-issued EBT card, which is swiped at the point of purchase when recipients buy food. In 2012, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that soft drinks and sugar-sweetened beverages accounted for 58 percent of all refreshment beverage purchases by SNAP and the Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, programs. Mayhew said the state will increase efforts to educate SNAP recipients about healthy food choices.
DHHS noted that the American Medical Association recommended in 2013 that SNAP remove sugary drinks from its list of allowable items. Ahmed Muse, who works at the Peace Food Market in Portland, said he often sees shoppers buying chocolate, sugary drinks or other snacks with EBT cards at the small Halal store.
But Muse was familiar with the debate and said he personally would prefer not to see food stamp money go toward chocolate or unhealthy foods.
Over at Mellen Street Market in Portland’s Parkside neighborhood, local resident Holly Plourde was buying an afternoon snack of crackers for her two young children. Here at MaineToday Media we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. Simply applying the WIC nutritional standard to SNAP would be an enormous step in the right direction.
Basic meat potatoes and vegetables are a better value that those stupid Lunchables, candy, chips, and other junk. Seventy percent of SNAP recipients are working people, many single heads of households with children and sometimes coming home from work may not always have the time or energy to make a meal from scratch. It is less about the junk food, than about person choices and personal responsibility directed at one segment of the population. A soda stream is an overpriced device that allows people who can’t tolerate any beverage without bubbles to make their own soda. I doubt at that price anybody relying solely on welfare benefits would purchase one, although they do make great Holiday gifts. The goal of LePage’s DHHS is not to prevent the less fortunate from enjoying food or beverage products of questionable nutritional value.
FYI–did you miss the part in the article that NYC and Connecticut made similar proposals??
That said, SNAP should not be used for soda or candy and I can think of a lot of other stuff it should not be used for as well but let’s at least make a little progress. The fact is it has been deemed eligible under the 2009 Act and it will take an act of Congress to change it. The library offers kitchen tools, alongside saws and bolt cutters, which means you may not need to own that Vitamix. The Maine Tool Library allows subscribers to check out tools and gadgets stocked in its Anderson Street storeroom. I keep a container of diced fruit in the freezer, which I add to whenever I run into a mealy peach, a bruised banana, a droopy blueberry, a cantaloupe that refuses to ripen – any fruit that isn’t good enough to eat out of hand. I have lost count of the number of aprons and spatulas that live in my – need I say overcrowded? I am also a book hoarder, but I have managed to persuade myself with this move to give away several boxes of beloved novels.
Earlier this year, the Maine Tool Library opened in the Bayside neighborhood of Portland, where members (about 60 so far) can borrow tools, just as you’d borrow books from the library. Joining the library is just a few minutes work that requires two forms of ID (more on that later), some paperwork and $50, an annual fee that pays for operating costs, including rent, insurance and tool purchase and repair.
The patrons took an interest in one another’s projects and offered advice about appropriate tools and how to tackle daunting home or garden projects.

On the bright side, I saved space in my kitchen and got one small step nearer to my goal of owning less. The $50 is a one-time fee, so once you borrow a few things you’ll come out ahead of a tool rental place.
A new state proposal is asking for a federal waiver to allow the department to ban purchase of junk food with food stamps. The move by the department follows several failed efforts to seek the waiver through legislation, including a bill that died in the Legislature this year. They also won’t include beverages that contain greater than 50 percent vegetable or fruit juice by volume.
Department of Agriculture, which funds and oversees the SNAP program, has never granted such a waiver despite requests by at least nine states. Maine Equal Justice Partners, an advocacy group for low-income Mainers, cited a study by the Illinois Public Health Association that found restricting junk food purchases wouldn’t have the desired effect because SNAP recipients often use out-of-pocket cash to supplement their benefit allowance when buying food. The same cards also can carry benefits under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Shelley Doak, who represents the grocers group, said Monday that Maine should not go it alone in restricting certain foods from being purchased within a federal program. South Carolina, for example, has attempted to appeal to the USDA by proposing a pilot program, while Wisconsin has sidestepped an outright junk-food ban by proposing that food stamp beneficiaries be required to spend a specific dollar amount on healthy foods. The request notes that Maine has the highest obesity rate in New England and that its rate increased from 14 percent in 1995 to 65 percent in 2011. The state spent $4.6 million on its SNAP nutrition education program in the 2015 fiscal year. Soft drinks include nonalcoholic beverages that contain natural or artificial sweeteners, including soda, juice cocktails, juice drinks containing 50 percent or less of vegetable or fruit juice, lemonade, fruit punch, and energy and sports drinks. Muse said those purchases are often small, and speculated that many people use their food stamps to buy food for meals at supermarkets.
The insinuation is that the poor are not competent to make their own decisions regarding food.
I believe we should place much higher taxes on foods that are unequivocally bad for human health.
They still have to get a meal on the table, help kids with homework, and get kids to bed by a reasonable hour. More education is needed for those born into families that don’t have a tradition of cooking and eating healthy food. The whole point is to demean and denigrate the less fortunate, and give the ignorant something to rally around. Let’s eliminate all of those people from the payroll, before we mess with those who have more limited means for food choices. The USDA has yet to grant a waiver and at least one source has suggested the USDA has not been empowered to grant such a waiver. I will use my chilled Brita filter water if I have to take a pill and there is no bottled water in the house. Food editor Peggy Grodinsky, above, recently chose some kitchen equipment she’s been intrigued with but didn’t want to buy. The kitchen, while sunny and functional, is like that in a Manhattan apartment, which is to say Very Small.
If I want to read them again, I am trying to reason with myself, that’s what the library is for. Why not join, pare down my own belongings and, the next time I require a fondue pot, simply check it out? I was able to check out tools the day I signed up, plus I got a free Maine Tool Library temporary tattoo, which gave me the same thrill as the gold stars my childhood librarian handed out if you finished a book and could answer her questions about it. The Vitamix is a high-powered blender with a steep price tag (about $500 for the model the library carries) and a cult following among chefs, vegans and many regular, kitchen-obsessed home cooks. Unlike the food processor that I do own, it handily pureed raw kale into silken submission. Italian traditionalists insist on a mortar and pestle to make pesto (the word means to crush).
Actually, I checked out two meat grinders, as the librarians were unsure which worked better (most of the tools the library owns were donated) and were concerned lest I ruin my dinner. Those came rushing back – the smell of blood, the tang of really beefy beef (I used 85 percent chuck, 15 percent sirloin, per Bobby Flay). In 2011, the USDA rejected New York City’s request to prohibit food stamp users from buying soda and drinks high in sugar content, arguing that administrating such restrictions would overburden retailers without having a sufficient impact on reducing obesity and improving health. Additionally, she questioned why DHHS and the LePage administration continued to push proposals that are destined to be rejected by the federal government.

Doing so, she said, would create a patchwork of regulations across the states that would create logistical and compliance hurdles for grocers who run multiple locations across several states.
The program is designed to teach low-income families how to prepare nutritious and affordable meals.
How about Maine take the lead in giving SNAP recipients who will take food prep classes more SNAP money so they can buy what they need to prepare wholesome foods at home? Lunchables are useful as a school snack, although I more often used 100% juice boxes and cheese and peanut butter crackers or a piece of fruit for a school snack.
The computer I am writing this on was, however, a gift from my sister who knows any technology is appreciated in this household.
If you are afraid of tap water in Maine and truly think that Pure juice with 0 additives in it is worse than corn syrup caffenitated or asparatine ridden soda then there is absolutley no discussion we can have becasuse that is absurd. They are able to give a waiver to implement a pilot program to improve the efficiency of the program or how the program is delivered. I own a special pan from Argentina for making flan, a special pan from Germany for making Rehruecken (chocolate saddle of venison cake), a special pan from a yard sale for making blini. Truth be told, I don’t even recognize the names of many of them – cutting nippers, conduit bender, power scrubber, epoxy grout float – all squeezed into one well-organized room in the offices of the nonprofit Resilience Hub.
Members can take out up to seven tools per visit, for – with just a few exceptions – one week. Though I’ve not a drop of Italian blood, the kitchen purist in me prefers low-tech pesto. I doubt kids today are allowed to bring peanut butter anything into the classroom because of allergies. My point was if someone had one from better times or as a gift and they could afford the canisters (which can be purchased for a discount at Marden’s, on occasion), there is an alternative to soda which can actually contain something with some nutrition.
Juice for example, contains natural fructose, which cannot be stored for energy, so is instead converted to fat.
And still, I get to pay for those wonderful bond issues so people can get new public water supplies.
This request does neither, so it appears that the USDA may not be able to grant Paulie and Mary’s wish. I do know that when I am ready to take the next step toward learning how to fix a leaky pipe or patch a hole in the wall, the volunteer Maine Tool librarians will be generous with expert and unpatronizing advice. I intended to find out and at the same time assess whether I needed to find a permanent spot for one in my crowded cupboard. This is Evelyn,” the librarian said the first time I went, pointing to her beautiful, blue-eyed baby, born nine months earlier, roughly the same time the library was born. A wish list of desired donations – knife sharpener, fabric steamer, saw horses – hangs in the library. I mix it half and half with OJ and bottled water and I get a drink that contains calcium, potassium and tastes a bit like orange soda (Polar orange or Orangina). We have a baby in the house so I try to make sure there is bottled water here for her all the time, anyway. And if you are the sort of cook who needs a food sealer, jerky gun or electric smoker right this very minute, you probably need to own it, as the library is open limited hours, on Wednesday late afternoons and Saturday mornings. Onsrud and a few library patrons who were milling about exploring the shelves offered me cooking suggestions – hummus, kale smoothies, squash soup, pureed apples. The governor already wants to do away with the purchase of bottled water for SNAP recipients and tap water is unfit for consumption in many areas. Unlike the food processor (or at least the one I own), the Vitamix makes quick work of gingerroot, whole seeds and kale leaves, making for a smoothie worthy of the name. At home, I looked up the instructions to the machine on the Internet (the library website posts instructions to some of its tools), and I took two of the suggestions I’d been given, making hummus and smoothies, also basil-cilantro pesto. Some brands of the baked chips are not half bad either, and are a better choice than deep fried chips. When I moved to Maine, I had been carless for some time, and I apparently failed to recall that registration is an annual – not a one-time – obligation.
Feeling the way I do, I would not judge someone with more limited means for feeling the same way. That evening I went home and wrote a check that would have nearly covered the cost of buying a new Vitamix.

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29.08.2015 admin

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