Someone fills a cup with soda. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -
Using food stamps to buy items like soda in South Carolina could become a thing of the past if an effort by some state officials is successful.
Leaders with the Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Department of Social Services think it's possible they could get soda taken off of that list here if they start off with a small test population.
State officials want to make it clear - they aren't proposing a "ban" on soda. They don't have a problem with vending machines where you can choose to drink whatever you like - and the money people are spending hasn't been given to you by the government.
DHEC Director Catherine Templeton said the state needs a change, with more than 1.5 million people in South Carolina considered obese, which is about one third of the state's population. She's aiming for change starting with people who use food stamps.
"We're not trying to prevent people from exercising their free choice, that's fine," Templeton said. "But I don't think its appropriate for the federal government to spend $2 billion a year on sugar-added drinks than have to pay the hundreds of billions of health costs that are caused by the obesity epidemic."
Changing the requirements of items eligible for food stamps - soda in particular - has been tried by many states in the past and failed.
An article on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website said it is hard to rule out individual food items in people's diets stating, "Foods contain many components that can affect health, and diets contain many foods. As a result, it is challenging to determine whether - and the point at which - the presence or absence of desirable nutrients outweighs the presence of nutrients to be avoided in ruling a food 'in' or 'out.'"
But Templeton said when it comes to soda, it's a no brainer. And she thinks South Carolina could serve as the perfect testing grounds for the country using Bamberg, Fairfield and Lee counties for initial trial runs.
"It seems very intuitive that we should not be paying for empty calories, if we can show them on a small scale, then possibility they'll allow us to do a waiver on a large scale, maybe even change the law," Templeton said.
Some agree with the idea while others think it's pointless to only restrict soda.
But DHEC said they'd like to ban using food stamps to buy all "empty calorie foods" if the USDA would approve it.
There are already some items that cannot be bought with food stamps including alcohol and tobacco products, nonfood items like pet or cleaning products, vitamins and medicines and hot foods.
Copyright 2013 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
It's all about the odds, and one lone ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching each of the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials...More >
Some lucky person walked into a Publix supermarket in suburban Florida over the past few days and bought a ticket now worth an estimated $590.5 million - the highest Powerball jackpot in history.More >
It's been less than 10 months since the world record for a lottery prize. On Saturday night, it could conceivably fall once again.More >
It's all about the odds, and one single ticket in Florida has beaten them all by matching the numbers drawn for the highest Powerball jackpot in history at an estimated $590.5 million, lottery officials disclosed Sunday.More >
Friday, May 17 2013 11:20 PM EDT2013-05-18 03:20:45 GMT
An Upstate woman's money is gone and her friend got hit too. They don't know when their debit card numbers got swiped, but they think there may be more victims in the area. After a frustrating few days,More >
An Upstate woman and her friend have both lost money from their banking accounts - money they did not spend themselves.More >
Sunday, May 19 2013 4:24 AM EDT2013-05-19 08:24:11 GMT
DES MOINES, IOWA (KCCI/CNN) - A reunion between a special dog and a special man happened in Iowa Friday. Sgt. Ross Gundlach, a U.S. Marine, has a surprise reunion with Casey, a yellow Labrador that helpedMore >
A reunion between a special dog and a special man happened in Iowa Friday.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:31 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:31:53 GMT
Anderson county deputies said a woman was rescued as she fought to stay afloat in the Saluda River on Saturday.Deputies were called out near Osteen Hill Road around 3:30 p.m. after a woman tried to crossMore >
Anderson County deputies said a woman was rescued as she fought to stay afloat in the Saluda River on Saturday.More >
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:30 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:30:43 GMT
Anderson police said a man was shot in the back Saturday night.Police said the victim got in his car and tried to chase down the person who shot him on Burdine Street around 6:30 p.m.Police say the victimMore >
Anderson police said a man was shot in the back Saturday night.More >
A poll by Reader's Digest named the 100 most trusted people in America. The list includes celebrities, politicians, philanthropists and even presidents. Click here to see the top 30.More >
A poll by Reader's Digest named the 100 most trusted people in America. The list includes celebrities, politicians, philanthropists and even presidents, and Readers Digest admits the results were surprising. Click here to see the top 30. More >