Chronic unemployment and federal efforts to reduce the stigma of accepting aid will push food- stamp use up from levels already at record highs, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s top nutrition-program official said.
Louis Holland had five employees at his carpentry business in Walkersville, Maryland, during the housing boom. Now he’s working alone, and his family has joined many local residents collecting food stamps.
An overhaul of U.S. school meal standards that replaces breaded patties and canned fruit with fresh tomatoes and chef salad will cost $3.2 billion over five years, less than half of what was initially proposed by the Obama administration.
An Obama administration effort to add more fruits, vegetables and whole grains to U.S. school meals may limit educators’ ability to deliver a balanced diet to 32 million children, meat- and potato-industry groups said.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said attacks on the U.S. food-stamp program, a standby of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich’s criticisms of President Barack Obama, exploit stereotypes of aid recipients.
Spending on food-stamp benefits would fall 0.6 percent to $69.9 billion in the 2013 fiscal year as employment improves, according to projections contained in the budget President Barack Obama submitted to Congress.