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Tennessee lawmaker wants to ban food stamp users from buying junk food

Thousands of Tennesseans rely on government assistance to put food on the table, but whether they should be prevented from products like soda and ice cream is up for debate. (1-13-17)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A lawmaker in Tennessee wants to put more restrictions what people can purchase with food stamps.

According to WSMV, Rep. Sheila Butt introduced a bill that would prevent people who use food stamps from purchasing junk food.

The bill states that foods that are high in calories, sugar and fat cannot be purchased. Also, businesses who sell junk food to those customers would face a fine.

“Taxpayers are supporting unhealthy lifestyle choices on the front end and up paying for resulting health care costs on the back end. This is very counterproductive, counter intuitive and costly,” Butt said in a statement. “I go into convenience stores almost every day and see the most non-nutritional foods on the counters and in the aisles marked ‘EBT Approved.’ These are the same foods that we have banned from our children’s lunch rooms.”

However, some told WSMV that the homeless need something they can eat on the go, which is usually processed.

“There are so many people, the homeless, who don’t even have a stove. They don’t have a place to eat. They’ve got to eat Vienna sausages out of the can, potato chips or whatever,” Madge Johnson said.

One family WSMV spoke with said the higher quality foods are more expensive, so they often choose unhealthy options in order to feed everyone.