The Trump Regime Wants to Count Cheese Whiz as a “Staple Food”

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

People who receive food stamps shouldn't be allowed to use them on junk food, right? That's what Republican say.

Republicans say you shouldn't be able to use them on soda and some have even proposed legislation that would block recipients from using them on sandwiches among other things. There's no shortage of conservative politicians who believe the government should micromanage which foods recipients can and cannot eat.

The Trump regime is apparently not among them, however, as a new proposal calls for counting Cheez Whiz as a "staple food" so that food stamps could be used in more places.

The regulatory change addresses a requirement that stores carry a minimum number of varieties of four types of staple foods -- meat, dairy, grains and fruits and vegetables -- to be authorized to accept SNAP benefits. The proposed rule wouldn’t alter what items recipients can purchase with their benefits. [...]

The Federal Register notice cites “canned spray cheese sauce” as an example of a dairy staple. It would count “beef jerky” as a staple in the category of meat, poultry or fish. Lemon juice and “jarred pimiento-stuffed olives” would be counted as fruit and vegetables.

If Cheeze Whiz, beef jerky, and stuffed olives among other things are counted as "staple foods," then suddenly liquor stores can begin accepting food stamps.

Now, I'm not necessarily going to say you shouldn't be able to buy such items at a liquor store (or elsewhere) using food stamps because I am not in the business of telling people what to do, but I will say it certainly flies in the face of Republican orthodoxy.

The next time some conservative politician or someone you know tells a folktale about someone buying party snacks at the corner liquor store using food stamps, remember that Trump made it happen.

  • muselet

    Brooke Hardison, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service, said the agency already considers beef jerky and spray cheese to be staples, defined in a March 2018 memo as “basic foods that make up a significant portion of a person’s diet and are usually prepared at home and eaten as a meal.” That memo used beef jerky as an example in the beef category for staple meats.

    Hardison also pointed to a policy memorandum issued in January 2018 saying that multi-ingredient foods are considered staples if the main ingredient is a staple. She noted that “spray cheese often has cheese as a primary ingredient.”

    [links omitted]

    Bollocks. Unless one defines “often” in a very peculiar way, that is.

    The Agriculture Department estimated that its proposal, on average, would allow small stores to add six fewer items to their inventory and save $500 per store over five years.

    Wow. A whole hundred dollars a year. That’ll make all the difference between a store staying in business or closing.

    This proposal is the latest Trump administration attempt to both kneecap science (yes, Righties, nutrition is a science) and hurt poor people. It doesn’t make any sense if you look at it any other way. And Rs will cheer themselves hoarse if these regulatory changes go into effect because reasons.


    • Aynwrong

      I didn’t remember until afterwards but the Bush administration pulled a similar stunt when it tried to call working at a fast food joint as a manufacturing job so they could claim an increase in jobs in the manufacturing sector.

      “But the Bushies are on our side now…” Yeah, right.

  • Aynwrong

    This is the same party that threw an eight year fit over Michelle Obama suggesting, suggesting!!!… that school kids should exercise more, eat their veggies and probably shouldn’t be fed junk food for lunch by their schools.

    I’m guessing every Republican who suddenly doesn’t oppose this sort of thing anymore would have this look on their face if you asked them about it.

    • Nefercat

      Oh god, my eyes, my eyes. The only thing that has made our National Unpleasantness at all bearable for the past two years is not having to listen to that screeching, brainless, vicious harpy along with trump’s twittering stupidity and cruelty.

      If we’d had to put up with the two of them together I would have been reduced to rocking and sobbing in a corner long ago.