Bills seek to take junk food, energy drinks off food stamp program

Two new bills would make it difficult for people who get government assistance to buy for junk food and energy drinks for their kids.

"Energy drinks are potentially dangerous for children," said Texas State Representative Terry Canales of Edinburg.

Canales authored HB 523 which would prevent those on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from buying energy drinks.

"There's nothing nutritious or healthy about these products and in fact they're potentially dangerous to children," Canales said. "We don't believe you should be able to use government funds to buy them."

Canales said he received numerous complaints from his constituents about people abusing snap funds.

According to the USDA, there are more than 4.1 million Texans are relying on the program as of September 2012.

That's a 2.9 percent increase over the previous year.

Texas State Rep. Richard Pea Raymond of Laredo is taking it a step further, outlawing all food stamps for the use of buying junk food with HB 751.

"You buy whatever you want. You want to buy two pounds of butter and go have that for supper that's your money you do whatever you want," said Pea Raymond.

He said the difference is, taxpayers shouldn't be paying for someone's junk food which could later make them sick.

"We should not be on the one hand using money tax dollars to buy junk food and then on the other hand using tax dollars to pay for health related diseases that come about because of junk food."

Both bills are still going through the legislative process.

To report SNAP fraud and abuse, call the Texas Workforce Solutions Hotline: 1-800-252-3642.

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