US regulators and state departments have responded to Trump’s plan to replace food stamps with ‘America’s Harvest Box’ as he plans to reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Trump outlined in the 2019 budget proposals approved by the US Department of Agriculture that SNAP funding will be cut by $213.5bn over the next decade.

US Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) criticised the Harvest Box proposal, saying that it fails to take into account any sort of disruption or bespoke dietary requirements. One in eight people in her state currently receive SNAP benefits.

“The box is unlikely to include any fresh fruits, vegetables, or any nutritious items,” DeLauro commented.

“Also, imagine if the box doesn’t come on a day when you expect it to arrive. Suppose you have a storm like we’ve had in the last couple of weeks here in New Haven. Suppose you get a box full of food that you are allergic to.”

DeLauro noted that the proposals were degrading to individuals who would no longer be able to choose what they and their family can eat.

Minnesota Department of Human Services acting commissioner Chuck Johnson suggested the new plan was ‘a significant step backward in our nation’s effort to ensure all Americans have access to nutritious food’. States would be burdened with the delivery of the boxes under the new plan.

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance director of food and nutrition policy Tom Hedderman said there are 1.25 million SNAP recipients, and went on to criticise the proposal: “It’s clear in the proposal that they would dump the problem of logistics and cost back on to the states.”

In Louisiana, Department of Children and Family Services deputy assistant secretary Sammy Guillory expressed his concerns over implementation of the Harvest Box, saying:

“Somehow our staff that determines eligibility would have to learn all these rules, our system would have to be reprogrammed. And that’s not even taking into consideration the logistics of getting these boxes to families.”

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