The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on April 1 announced a 30-day extension to the comment period on its proposed rule that would make it harder for NATSO members to redeem Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps) benefits. Comments are now due by May 18.
Although NATSO had requested a 60-day extension, we are pleased that USDA has added an additional 30 days to allow food retailers more time to study the effect of the highly technical proposal on their businesses.
Many convenience stores that are owned and operated by truckstop and travel plaza operators redeem SNAP benefits. These establishments play an important role in the SNAP program, especially in areas where there are few other locations for financially challenged Americans to purchase food.
USDA’s rule would require SNAP retailers to stock and offer for sale a larger quantity of "staple food" items. Furthermore, it would substantially narrow the definition of "staple food" item in a manner that may require NATSO members wishing to redeem SNAP benefits to offer for sale a number of items that they would otherwise not be inclined to stock.
NATSO will continue to keep its member apprised of the status of this proposal.
NATSO has prepared a compliance guide that contains additional background information on current requirements for SNAP retailers to participate in the program, as well as an overview of the additional requirements that Congress directed USDA to impose. NATSO's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Summary and Compliance Guide for Truckstops and Travel Plazas is available here.
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