Fate of Multivitamins for SNAP Recipients Being Debated in House

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Washington, D.C. – The push to make multivitamins an eligible purchase for low income Americans on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program could be one step closer to fruition.

The House of Representatives is set to debate and vote on an amendment offered by Representative Mike D. Rogers (R-AL) to the Farm bill (HR 2) that would allow multivitamin products to be covered under the SNAP program, previously known as “food stamps”.

If passed, it would be “historic,” says Mike Greene, Senior VP, Government Relations of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).

The SNAP provision is co-sponsored by Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Mia Love (R-UT), and Tony Cárdenas (D-CA). It is also supported by a number of broad health groups including the National Osteoporosis Foundation and the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and leading supplement industry groups including CRN and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA).

Specifically, the provision covers multivitamin-mineral dietary supplements for home consumption that provide at least half of the vitamins and minerals for which the National Academy of Medicine establishes dietary reference intakes, at 50 percent or more of the daily value for the intended life stage per daily serving as determined by the Food and Drug Administration.  Further, the products cannot exceed the tolerable upper intake levels for those nutrients for which an established tolerable upper intake level is determined by the National Academy of Medicine.

According to CRN, more than 170 million Americans take dietary supplements every year.  Including multivitamins in SNAP benefits is crucial to low-income Americans’ health and well-being, says Greene. “CRN believes that all Americans should have access to the benefits of a multivitamin-mineral dietary supplement. Individuals on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or food stamps) should be allowed the choice to use their benefits to purchase a multivitamin-mineral dietary supplement. Whatever the requirements are to obtain SNAP benefits and whatever policy changes USDA and Congress agree to make to the SNAP program, CRN continues to believe that inclusion of a multivitamin-mineral dietary supplement in the SNAP program makes sense. It empowers program recipients with a choice for better nutrition and the ability to make healthier nutrition decisions. SNAP policy should facilitate and not impede the efforts of individuals in obtaining good nutrition and health and wellness.”

The vote on the amendment is expected shortly.  If passed, it would still need to go through additional channels before being enacted.

For related stories, see:

Fate of Multivitamins Uncertain Under Proposed SNAP Changes

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