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Proposed Texas bill would ban food stamp recipients from buying junk food, soda

ABC News logo ABC News 5/1/2019
a store filled with lots of different kinds of beer on a shelf: Sodas in a store refrigerator. © STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images Sodas in a store refrigerator.

A proposed Texas bill would ban residents from purchasing junk food using food stamps.

House Bill 4364, filed by Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain in March, would make food items such as candy and energy drinks ineligible to buy with food stamps.

(MORE: Trump's new budget resurrects controversial 'harvest box' proposal for food stamps as part of broader welfare reform)

The bill defines an energy drink as a beverage containing at least 65 milligrams of caffeine per eight fluid ounces and is advertised as "being specifically designed to provide metabolic stimulation or an increase to the consumer's mental or physical energy." Coffee or coffee-based beverages are not grouped in with this definition, according to the bill.

Sweetened beverages — meaning non-alcoholic drinks added with natural or artificial sweeteners such as soft drinks, fruits and vegetable juice and other flavored beverages — would also be included in the ban.

(MORE: McDonald's employee helpline solution: Food stamps)

Junk food such as candy, potato or corn chips and cookies will be ineligible as well.

(MORE: What are pet food stamps?)

The bill would not ban items such as milk or dairy products, infant formula, beverages in which calories are not added by sweetener, beverages intended for weight reduction, fruit or vegetable juices in which no sugar has been added and products fortified with vitamins or minerals or contain a source of protein.

If passed, the act will take effect on Sept. 1, according to the bill.

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