This rule finalizes provisions of a proposed rule published on June 27, 2022. With this final rule, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is revising Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) regulations that cover collecting and reporting race and ethnicity data by state agencies on persons receiving benefits from SNAP. This rule removes regulatory language that provides an example that state agencies might collect race and ethnicity data by observation (also referred to as “visual observation”) when participants do not voluntarily provide the information on the application form. In addition, based on feedback from the commenters, this rule prohibits using visual observation as a data collection method for race and ethnicity. Through this rulemaking, FNS intends to improve the quality of data collected for purposes of federal civil rights law and policy including title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service is committed to promoting equity and inclusion through its federal nutrition assistance programs. This regulatory change is consistent with this administration's priorities and furthers FNS' commitment to building equitable and inclusive systems for nutrition access.
On Dec. 20, 2023, FNS distributed a transmittal memo to all SNAP state agencies, informing them of these changes.
This rule is effective Feb.12, 2024.