USDA is updating the form in response to recent changes in SNAP retailer eligibility requirements.
Among other things, the proposed updates to the form ask retailer applicants to provide information regarding the percent total of staple foods, accessory foods, hot and/or cold prepared foods, and non-food items such as tobacco and gasoline.
USDA claims that the information is necessary to assess whether retailer applicants run afoul of a new rule prohibiting retailers who derive more than 50 percent of their total gross sales from food that is cooked or heated on site. This provision is designed to prevent restaurants from redeeming SNAP benefits. "With respect to NATSO members, however, such information is completely unnecessary to determining whether the retailer's application should be granted."
"Every travel center in the United States will comply with the 50 percent of total gross sales provision because more than 50 percent of their total gross sales will come from motor fuel sales," NATSO wrote. "It is therefore unnecessary to require them to submit additional information in order to assess their qualifications to participate in SNAP ... ."
comes on the heals of a U.S. Circuit Court ruling that releasing SNAP sales data would not cause substantial competitive harm to retailers and is not, therefore, protected from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). NATSO strongly opposes this ruling, and has expressed to USDA that SNAP redemption data at the individual store level should be treated as "confidential business information" and thus protected from FOIA requests. USDA has sought to protect this information but the Argus Leader, a South Dakota newspaper, has sued to get this information released.
NATSO is continuing to monitor this litigation and other developments in this area.
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