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USDA/FNS RIN: 0584-AE27 Publication ID: Fall 2016 
Title: Enhancing Retailer Eligibility Standards in SNAP 

The final rule will address the criteria used to authorize retail food stores for redemption of SNAP benefits.

Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Other Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: No  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 271.2    7 CFR 278.1   
Legal Authority: 3 U.S.C. 2012    9 U.S.C. 2018   
Legal Deadline:  None

Statement of Need:

The Agricultural Act 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) amended the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 to increase the required amount of food that certain SNAP authorized retail food stores have available on a continual basis from at least three varieties of items in each of four staple food categories to a mandatory minimum of seven varieties. The 2014 Farm Bill also amended the Act to increase the minimum number of categories in which perishable foods are required from two to three. This rule codifies these mandatory requirements. Further, the rulemaking addresses depth of stock, redefines staple and accessory foods, and amends the definition of retail food store to clarify when a retailer is a restaurant rather than a retail food store.

Summary of the Legal Basis:

Section 3(k) of the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (the Act) generally (with limited exception) (1) requires that food purchased with SNAP benefits be meant for home consumption and (2) prohibits the purchase of hot foods with SNAP benefits. The intent of those statutory requirements can be circumvented by selling cold foods, which may be purchased with SNAP benefits, and offering onsite heating or cooking of those same foods, either for free or at an additional cost. In addition, section 9 of the Act provides for approval of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns based on their ability to effectuate the purposes of the Program.


Alternative approaches to several discretionary provisions are being considered based on commenter feedback on the proposed rule.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits:

The changes will allow FNS to improve access to healthy food choices for SNAP participants and to ensure that participating retailers effectuate the purposes of the Program. FNS anticipates that these provisions will have no significant costs to States.


None identified.

Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  02/17/2016  81 FR 8015   
NPRM Comment Period End  05/18/2016 
Final Action  11/00/2016 
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: State 
Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
Charles H. Watford
Regulatory Review Specialist
Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service
1320 Braddock Place,
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone:703 605-0800

Lynnette M. Thomas
Chief, Planning and Regulatory Affairs Branch
Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service
3101 Park Center Drive,
Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone:703 605-4782