The “junk food defense”, or “Twinkie defense”, is an actual defense used by Dan White, the California supervisor who murdered Harvey Milk. For those not familiar, White’s case stood on the fact that he’d had so much junk food in advance of the murder (which also included the killing of then-Mayor George Moscone), he was not in his right mind. And while I feel this is a stretch, I think most people are well aware of the danger that junk food poses to our health and well being.
And yet, SNAP benefits have few restrictions as to what you can buy from a health standpoint. When I spoke to a few people about the challenge and what I would eat, many assumed that I would, in fact, be restricted to low cost but ultimately unhealthy fare. But the question remains, “Why?” Why is junk food permissible in a government funded program, the same government that is presently pushing healthful food initiatives through its First Lady? We’re seeing that junk food is a major contributing factor to America’s obesity epidemic– why should a federally funded (at least in part, it is also funded by state governments) program feed* that problem?
*Pun not intended, but acknowledged.
I was curious too, curious enough to seek out an answer. And this is the answer that I found, courtesy of the Food and Nutrition Service section of the USDA:
|Some of Michael Pollan’s “Food Rules”|
FNS is also concerned about the health and nutrition of SNAP clients. We have several projects to encourage clients to buy more healthy foods. The Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) is one example. We are also trying to have more Farmers’ Markets accept SNAP benefits.
The problem of good food choices, as well as so many others that I’ve tried to address over the course of this challenge, have sparked the need for a documentary in the same vein as Super Size Me or Food Inc. This March, A Place at the Table will try to shine a light on the problem of food insecurity in America, and I’m so pleased to see that.
I’m doing this in hopes to raise awareness about food instability, and money for the Greater Boston Food Bank. Should you feel compelled to give to the latter, please click the link below! I thank you, as will those who benefit from the money that you give 🙂