Author Archives: Felice J. Freyer & Irene Wielawski

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About Felice J. Freyer & Irene Wielawski

Felice J. Freyer and Irene Wielawski are co-chairs of AHCJ's Right to Know Committee and members of AHCJ's board of directors.

Journalists call on USDA to release food stamp information

The Association of Health Care Journalists, along with six other journalism and open-government groups, has called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to release to the public vital information about the multibillion-dollar food stamps program.

Currently, the USDA refuses to reveal how much money individual retailers make from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as food stamps. Additionally, the USDA does not disclose which products are purchased with SNAP dollars or how much is spent on each product, in aggregate.

This information could show which businesses benefit from the program and also inform public policy debates about obesity and its causes, the organization argues.

The USDA’s position runs contrary to President Obama’s promise of government transparency, and stands in sharp contrast with practices at other federal agencies. For example, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families discloses where recipients used their EBT cards to withdraw cash assistance. A wealth of information is available about Medicare and Medicaid. Continue reading