The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS, or the Agency) proposes to make changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations pertaining to the eligibility of certain SNAP retail food stores. These proposed changes are in response to the Consolidated Appropriations Acts of 2017 and 2018, which prohibited the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from implementing two retailer stocking provisions (the “Breadth of Stock” provision and the “Definition of `Variety' ” provision) of the 2016 final rule titled, “Enhancing Retailer Standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)”, until such a time as regulatory modifications to the definition of “variety” are made that would increase the number of food items that count as acceptable staple food varieties for purposes of SNAP retailer eligibility.
Using existing authority in the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, the Agency proposes to modify the definition of the term “variety” as it pertains to the stocking requirements for SNAP authorized retail food stores. These proposed changes would provide retailers with more flexibility in meeting the enhanced stocking requirements of the 2016 final rule which were mandated by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 Farm Bill), and align SNAP regulations with the requirements expressed in the Consolidated Appropriations Acts of 2017 and 2018. This proposed rule does not modify any other provisions or components of the 2016 final rule, “Enhancing Retailer Standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).”