Food Stamps Proposal Causes Nonprofit Group Heartburn

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April 13, 2011; Source: The Courier-Journal | Should seniors, the disabled, and the homeless be allowed to use their food stamps to pay for fast food? Louisville-based Yum! brands, owner of the KFC chain and other fast food outlets, thinks it’s a delicious idea. But it’s giving indigestion to a nonprofit advocacy group, also in Kentucky, that wants people to use their food stamps for healthier foods.

In fact, the Community Farm Alliance, which is protesting Yum! brands’ lobbying push, already is credited for winning the right to let people use their stamps to buy healthy food at farmers markets in the state. “Access to healthy, affordable food is a problem all across the state,” Cassia Herron, CFA Vice President, said in a statement. As the Courier-Journal notes, by letting people spend their food stamps at its restaurants, Yum! will be using “government subsidies to raise mostly flat revenue at outlets like KFC.”

More so, as the article points out, that would put government money in conflict, as taxpayer funds already are being used “to combat obesity and persuade residents to make healthier food choices.” As far back as 2007, the Community Farm Alliance detailed in a report, “Bridging the Divide,” the lack of access in West Louisville to healthy and affordable food. The report also pointed out the large numbers of fast food outlets in poor neighborhoods.—Bruce Trachtenberg