USDA Announces SNAP Final Rule Delay

The Food & Nutrition Service hits the drawing board to redefine “variety” to work for small retailers.

May 19, 2017

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Service (FNS), which oversees the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formally posted an announcement on its website that “passage of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 has delayed implementation” of the SNAP retailer eligibility regulations “until further notice.”

As reported by NACS Daily a few weeks ago, the omnibus spending bill contained a provision that would require FNS to rewrite one piece of the updated SNAP retailer eligibility regulations. Specifically, FNS will have to adjust the problematic definition of “variety” so that retailers participating in SNAP will have more options for which foods can count toward staple food stocking requirements.

The provision also states that until FNS rewrites their definition, retailers will have to comply with old SNAP requirements, which require retailers to stock three varieties of food in the four staple food categories (as opposed to seven varieties in each of the four categories as required by the updated rule). In other words, retailers currently licensed to participate in SNAP should continue to participate as they are now—and any retailer looking to apply for a license will be applying under the old requirements.

Stay tuned to NACS Daily for updates regarding the SNAP rule and FNS’s adjustments to the definition of variety. NACS members may access the updated compliance guide here.