Food stamps for fast food?

By: Mario Boone Email
By: Mario Boone Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- For years food stamps have fed millions of hungry Americans. But the program has strict limits. Namely, what recipients can buy and where. "If it wasn't for having food stamps and EBT we probably wouldn't be able to eat," said one recipient.

Nearly every state limits purchases to uncooked food at grocery stores. But the fast food industry wants federal law changed to include many of your favorite restaurants. "I don't think you should be able to get fast food off of food stamps," said Shane Beasley.

The EBT program pumps billions of dollars into the economy. Money the fast food industry wants a slice of. "Going to a fast food place would only give you that meal just that one time and may not be quite as healthy," said Courtney Niemann of Second Harvest Food Bank. But John Bell sees an upside. "Anything that increases access to food, that would be positive," he said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture funds the EBT program. "To broaden it beyond this would require a change in law by congress," said Jean Daniel of USDA. So far no official legislation has been filed to loosen food stamp rules.

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