HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Controlling Individual Food Choices Of Those Who Are Dependant On Food Stamps

Dependence on government food stamps in the United States is soaring, according to a recent New York Times article. As more are relying on food stamps, the article reports, the stigma associated with food stamp use is fading.

The reality is that reliance on food stamps opens the door to judgments about individual food choices. In the running series Room for Debate, the Editors of the New York Times have collected a series of opinions from several different points of view in an article entitled Food Stamps: The Economics of Eating Well 

If people buy fresh vegetables or other relatively expensive though nutritious foods, they are considered to be living high on the hog at the taxpayers’ expense. But if they buy cheap foods like hot dogs they are criticized for poor health habits.

Despite these common complaints, does the system work? Are the current rules fair in regulating what people can buy and not buy? Or should the requirements be changed? Should un-nutritious products like soda be banned? Is there a better way to distribute free food and promote nutrition in this country?

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