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New York City Request to Exclude Soda from SNAP Deserves Support, Says CSPI

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

WASHINGTON - The USDA should approve New York City's sensible request to test excluding soda and other sugary beverages from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

The empty calories in soft drinks pose a major public health problem by promoting tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and other health problems. It's also the case that those diseases have a disproportionate impact on low-income Americans. However, the extent to which SNAP recipients' purchases of soft drinks is contributing to poor diets and obesity is unclear and controversial. I applaud New York City for seeking to get some real data to inform the debate. As it is, industry is enjoying about a $4-billion-a-year subsidy thanks to people spending SNAP benefits on soft drinks.

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