WASHINGTON – On Friday, President Obama signed into law the Farm Bill contains several provisions of concern to convenience retailers that redeem Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits.
As reported last week in NACS Daily, the Senate cleared a final bill for Obama to sign. NACS supported the final bill because it contains language much more favorable for the convenience store industry compared with earlier iterations of the Farm Bill.
The legislation imposes the following additional obligations on SNAP retailers:
- SNAP retailers will be required to implement point-of-sale technology systems that won’t allow SNAP benefits for the purchase of ineligible items, and will further preclude cashiers from manually overriding this prohibition. A majority of convenience store operators already have such systems in place. For those who do not, they will eventually need to upgrade their systems, although this provision does not become effective until the Department of Agriculture issues regulations implementing it. This is likely to take at least several months.
- The bill requires SNAP retailers to stock at least seven different items in each of the four “staple food” categories. (Current law requires only three items in each category.)
- SNAP retailers must stock at least one “perishable” food item in at least three of the four staple food categories. (Current law requires perishable items in only two of the staple food categories.)
NACS has put together a comprehensive analysis of regulatory issues that will help SNAP retailers understand their obligations under the new law. Please review the and send questions to Lyle Beckwith.