HOUSTON (FOX 26) - A bill proposed in Texas would ban food stamp recipients from using their benefits to purchase energy drinks, sodas, and some candy, chips and cookies.
According to HB 4364, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients would not be allowed to buy the following items with their benefits:
- Energy drinks, which are defined as beverages “containing at least 65 milligrams of caffeine per 8 fluid ounces that is advertised as being specifically designed to provide metabolic stimulation or an increase to the consumer's mental or physical energy.” Coffee is not included.
- Sweetened beverages, which are defined as nonalcoholic beverages “to which a natural or artificial sweetener is added that is sold for human consumption, including a soft drink, a fruit or vegetable juice, and other flavored beverages."
- candy ordinarily packaged and sold for consumption without further preparation;
- potato or corn chips ordinarily packaged and sold for consumption without further preparation
- cookies ordinarily packaged and sold for consumption without further preparation.
The restrictions would not apply to milk products, milk substitutes, beverages "other than an energy drink or carbonated beverage in which the only added sweetener does not add calories to the beverage", and fruit or vegetable juices with no added sugar.
State Representative Briscoe Cain filed HB 4364 in March. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Human Services.