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August 23, 2011
NEW YORKThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Aug. 19 rejected a request from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg that would have prevented welfare recipients from using food stamps to purchase soda and other sugary drinks.
Under the proposalpart of Bloombergs ambitious anti-obesity campaignthe 1.7 million city food stamp recipients would have continued to receive the same amount of government-funded benefits, but would not be able to use food stamps to buy sugar-sweetened beverages for two years. The ban would have applied to any beverage that contains more than 10 calories per 8 ounces, except for milk products, milk substitutes like soy milk and rice milk, and fruit juices without added sugar.
Bloomberg released a statement expressing disappointment with USDA's decision. We think our innovative pilot would have done more to protect people from the crippling effects of preventable illnesses like diabetes and obesity than anything being proposed anywhere else in this countryand at little or no cost to taxpayers. Were disappointed that the federal government didnt agree and sorry that families and children may suffer from their unwillingness to explore our proposal. New York City will continue to pursue new and unconventional ways to combat the health problems that affect New Yorkers and all Americans."
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