Keep the Government Out of Poor People’s Food Choices: New at Reason

Canned foodFood policy expert Baylen Linnekin takes a withering look at the proposal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to replace food aid with a "harvest box" full of food shipped to poor families:

A USDA official tried to spin the proposal as akin to Blue Apron, the upscale (and Juicero-level pointless) meal delivery service.

That's the spin. But criticism of the proposal has been both widespread and withering. Reason's Eric Boehm likens it to "Amazon Prime, but for terrible canned food selected by bureaucrats." Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) called the proposal a "'cruel and demeaning and an awful idea' that would strip families of the ability to choose which groceries they buy." USA Today's editorial board dubbed the harvest box proposal "a program fresh from Cold War Bulgaria."

"The proposal has drawn widespread criticism from advocates for the poor, who see it as a paternalistic 'nanny state' approach that also happens to favor agricultural producers," reports the L.A. Times. "Retailers who accept SNAP debit cards also worry about lost sales, even as leaders of food banks worry about additional work preparing the meal boxes."

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