New Legislation Would Add Frozen Fruits and Veggies to SNAP Benefits

SHOPP Act makes produce consumption easier for lower-income Americans
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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Frozen Vegetables
New legislation in the Senate will enhance SNAP with expanded access to frozen fruits and vegetables.

Congress is one step closer to making produce consumption easier for Americans by altering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) have introduced Senate bill S.2223, the Supporting All Healthy Options When Purchasing Produce (SHOPP) Act, which would ensure that certain key nutrition programs include the promotion of fresh frozen produce for lower-income Americans.

A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, introduced by Reps. Alford (R-Mo.) and Crockett (D-Texas), H.R. 3127, has a range of bipartisan co-sponsors.

[Read more: “Frozen Foods Can Help Reduce Food Waste”]

The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) says the SNAP and the Gus Schumacher Nutrition Incentive Program (GusNIP) are important initiatives that can help close a produce intake gap among lower income households. However, GusNIP, its point-of-sale nutrition promotion programs and USDA’s Produce Prescription Program currently only fund projects that support the consumption of fresh produce. The SHOPP Act would amend and modernize these programs to help ensure equal consideration is given to frozen fruits and vegetables in these incentive programs.

“SNAP participants who live in areas that lack access to affordable produce shouldn’t be forced to go without the nutrients they need,” said Sen. Cornyn. “This legislation would make sure Texans can access frozen fruits and vegetables, and I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to support it.”

“Whether in rural or urban communities, SNAP participants deserve a program that meets their needs. The SHOPP Act will help ensure that everyone can bring home fruits and vegetables, no matter where they live,” added Sen. Luján. “This legislation will improve SNAP and enact simple solutions that make produce consumption easier.”

Under the SHOPP Act:

  • The Secretary of Agriculture must consider GusNIP program grant applications/projects that promote or incentivize frozen fruit and vegetable consumption among SNAP recipients.
  • USDA must allow frozen fruits, vegetables and legumes to be included in the Produce Prescription Program. The program currently allows only fresh fruits and vegetables.

“Frozen food offers many benefits to families, helping to make mealtimes easier and more accessible. The SHOPP Act will help ensure that households can more easily achieve a healthy diet with SNAP and increase their produce consumption thanks to frozen fruits and vegetables,” said Alison Bodor, president and CEO for Arlington, Va.-based AFFI. “We urge Congress to act now on the SHOPP Act to help families enjoy fruits and vegetables.”