Trump administration wants to replace food stamps with at-home food delivery

Under the USDA's America's Harvest Box Proposal half of his snap benefits would be replaced with a box of food.

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney referred to the concept as a "Blue Apron-type program", referring to the high-end meal service that sends customers fresh ingredients such as fish and produce for individually apportioned meals.

The current SNAP program provides food stamp recipients with a debit card which allows them to choose which foods to buy with strict rules on items that can be purchased.

The boxes of food would be delivered through partnerships or through delivery services. "As the private partners with the government ensuring efficient redemption of SNAP benefits, retailers are looking to the administration to reduce red tape and regulations, not increase them with proposals such as this one".

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Approximately 16.4 million households, or about 81 percent of households on food stamps would be impacted by this proposal. Foods which could possibly be included in the proposed food boxes include grains, canned meats, fruits and vegetables, juice, peanut butter and other canned items.

The plan isn't sitting well with local food bank officials. The group pointed to recent research showing that SNAP is of critical importance in reducing food and economic insecurity, fighting poverty and improving the nation's health and well-being.

According to a summary of the proposal compiled by the Agriculture Department, the goal of the program is to cut costs and would save the federal government $129 billion over a decade.

This comes as part of a new budget plan, which slashes "safety net" programs created to help the most underserved and impoverished people in America.

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"USDA America's Harvest Box is a bold, innovative approach to providing nutritious food to people who need assistance feeding themselves and their families and all of it is homegrown by American farmers and producers", Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

The Trump administration says the food placed in the box will be 100 percent grown and produced in the US.

Big changes could be coming to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, otherwise known as SNAP. "The dramatic reductions came as part of a budget proposal that made sweeping, across-the-board cuts to popular safety net programs, including federal housing subsidies and Medicaid".

This wouldn't be the first time the Trump administration tried to make huge changes to the SNAP program.

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Boxed or canned food is typically packed with sodium and sugar, two additives that the USDA and nutritionists have repeatedly said that Americans need to cut back on.

  • Ryan Wade