Enhancing Retailer Standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS or the Agency) is updating Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or the Program) regulations pertaining to the eligibility criteria for retail food stores to participate in the Program by finalizing a proposed rule that was published on February 17, 2016. The Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill) amended the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) to increase the requirement that certain SNAP authorized retail food stores have available on a continuous basis at least three varieties of items in each of four staple food categories, to a mandatory minimum of seven varieties. The 2014 Farm Bill also amended the Act to increase, for certain SNAP authorized retail food stores, the minimum number of staple food categories in which perishable foods are required from two to three. This final rule codifies these mandatory requirements. In addition, FNS is codifying several other discretionary changes to the existing eligibility criteria. The first is to address depth of stock by establishing a minimum of three stocking units per staple food variety. The rule also amends the definitions of ``staple food,'' ``retail food store,'' and ``ineligible firms'', and defines the term ``firm'' as discussed in the Supplementary Information. Finally, this rule allows FNS to consider the need for food access when making a SNAP authorization determination for applicant firms that fail to meet certain authorization requirements and reaffirms FNS's authority to disclose to the public certain information about retailers who have violated SNAP rules.