MO lawmaker wants to ban use of food stamps to buy energy drinks - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Missouri lawmaker wants to ban use of food stamps to buy energy drinks

Posted: Updated:
  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Water woes in Thebes

    Water woes in Thebes

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:59 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:59:33 GMT
    A water main break kept folks in Thebes from doing dishes, taking showers for over 24 hours and they were never told exactly when it was going to be turned back on.It started with a warning from the city.
    A water main break kept folks in Thebes from doing dishes, taking showers for over 24 hours and they were never told exactly when it was going to be turned back on.It started with a warning from the city.
  • Boil water order issued in Murphysboro

    Boil water order issued in Murphysboro

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:37 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:37:19 GMT
    A boil water order has been issued for the 1900 block of Walnut in Murphysboro. This does not include Jack's Meat Market.
    A boil water order has been issued for the 1900 block of Walnut in Murphysboro. This does not include Jack's Meat Market.
  • I-Team: Would expanding Medicaid help the thousands in MO living without insurance

    I-Team: Would expanding Medicaid help the thousands in Mo. living without insurance?

    I-Team: Would expanding Medicaid help the thousands in Mo. living without insurance?

    Thursday, April 24 2014 7:36 PM EDT2014-04-24 23:36:12 GMT
    About half of the states have made the decision to expand Medicaid. Missouri lawmakers are currently debating the matter in Jefferson City. How will what legislators decide impact the state, and those currently living without health insurance?
    About half of the states have made the decision to expand Medicaid. Missouri lawmakers are currently debating the matter in Jefferson City. How will what legislators decide impact the state, and those currently living without health insurance?
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

A Missouri lawmaker wants to crack down on potential food stamp fraud by banning anyone from using SNAP benefits to purchase energy drinks.

Missouri State Representative Keith English, a Democrat out of St. Louis, MO, and Republican co-sponsor Ron Hicks want to make the change.

English said he proposed the bill after an out-of-state lawmaker told him some food stamp recipients often buy cases of energy drinks and resell them for cash. English said that's fraud and it must be stopped. The lawmaker said he also proposed the bill, House Bill 1283, because of health concerns surrounding the caffeinated drinks.

In the bill, energy drinks are defined as any beverage with at least 65 milligrams of caffeine per eight fluid ounces that is advertised as being specifically designed to provide "metabolic stimulation" or increase the consumer's "mental or physical energy."

"I really didn't know they could buy them on food stamps," said Edward Bowman, a grocery shopper.

Bowman was surprised to hear that food stamps could be used to buy the drinks and said he'd be happy to see a change.

"I think it's a great thing. I'd like to see them stop selling energy drinks completely, especially to the young people," he said.

Shopper Ann Hill, who volunteers at a food pantry, disagrees with the proposed changes.

"I'm kind of the person who believes if you get food stamps, get whatever you need. If they need an energy drink, then they should be able to go ahead and buy an energy drink," she said.

Federal regulations for SNAP benefits allow people to buy energy drink if they have a nutrition facts label, but don't allow them to buy energy drinks that have a supplement facts label.

The proposed bill in Missouri is getting support from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. English said it already has 30 co-sponsors.

The Missouri Department of Social Services said they don't typically comment on pending legislation, but offered this written statement:

"The federal government, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services, determines what food items are eligible. Questions regarding eligible food items should be directed to the federal government, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services.

The Department of Social Services is devoted to ensuring the integrity of welfare programs in our state and follows up on all reports of fraud or misuse. If you suspect misuse or fraud, you are encouraged to report it. Call 1-877-770-8055 or send an email to DLS.ReportFraud@dss.mo.gov."

Right now, according to the USDA, households can use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Foods for the household to eat, such as:  
    • breads and cereals;  
    • fruits and vegetables;  
    • meats, fish and poultry; and   
    • dairy products.
  • Seeds and plants which produce food for the household to eat.

In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.

Households cannot use SNAP benefits to buy:

  • Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
  • Any nonfood items, such as:
    • pet foods  
    • soaps, paper products   
    • household supplies
  • Vitamins and medicines
  • Food that will be eaten in the store
  • Hot foods

Click here for information about the caffeine content in drinks.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.). All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

310 Broadway
Cape Girardeau, MO 63701

FCC Public File
publicfile@kfvs12.com
573-335-1212
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KFVS12. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.