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Food stamps approved for vitamin purchases

19-Feb-2002

The US Senate last week passed the Farm Bill, including an amendment allowing food stamps to be used for the purchase of vitamin and mineral supplements.

The vitamin/mineral provision will allow consumers to use food stamps to purchase dietary supplements that provide vitamins or minerals. But an impact study will also have to be carried out to assess the technical issues, economic impacts and health effects of adding vitamins to the food stamp scheme.

The study will look at whether the quality of the diet has changed among participants in the scheme, as well as how much of the food stamp allotment was used on vitamin and mineral purchases. It will also assess whether food stamp scheme participants spend more on vitamins than non-participants and how much vitamins and minerals are used as a substitute for meals.

The study will also to look at potential difficulties in distinguishing between vitamin/mineral supplements and herbal supplements, which are not covered by the scheme.

The move to include vitamins and minerals in the food stamp scheme has been supported by industry members. John Cordaro, president and chief executive officer of the Council for Responsible Nutrition said the food stamp provision, would give families an opportunity to expand their daily dietary choices.