New York City Request to Exclude Soda from SNAP Deserves Support, Says CSPI
Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson
October 7, 2010
The USDA should approve New York Cityís sensible request to test excluding soda and other sugary beverages from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The empty calories in soft drinks pose a major public health problem by promoting tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. Itís also the case that those diseases have a disproportionate impact on low-income Americans. However, the extent to which SNAP recipientsí purchases of soft drinks is contributing to poor diets and obesity is unclear and controversial. I applaud New York City for seeking to get some real data to inform the debate. As it is, industry is enjoying about a $4-billion-a-year subsidy thanks to people spending SNAP benefits on soft drinks.