Statement of CSPI President Dr. Peter G. Lurie
The Center for Science in the Public Interest supports the Opt for Health with SNAP Act of 2023 (OH SNAP), a bill which strengthens the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) by increasing funding to $3.5 billion over five years and eliminates the state matching requirement.
Few Americans consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and, for shoppers utilizing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), cost remains a significant barrier. GusNIP improves access to fruits and vegetables for shoppers utilizing SNAP by providing a financial incentive. GusNIP nutrition incentives have a proven track record of increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
However, GusNIP benefits aren’t equitably distributed to everyone using SNAP. If all SNAP households received fruit and vegetable incentives, GusNIP funding would be $5.3 billion annually instead of the $21 million currently allocated for it. Furthermore, there are barriers for states wanting to apply for GusNIP funding, such as requiring states to provide a one-to-one match for GusNIP funds. Burdensome grant match requirements leave SNAP shoppers without access to the GusNIP nutrition incentives, and the funds provided by this bill would alleviate the amount of funds that states have to pay for the incentives.
It’s time to invest in GusNIP to reach more shoppers and remove application barriers. CSPI thanks Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representative Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE) for prioritizing the health of people experiencing food insecurity and local economies. We urge Congress to do the same by including OH SNAP in the 2023 Farm Bill.
# # #