DENVER, CO, March 16, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced it has taken action against 23 Missouri and Illinois retailers suspected of violating USDA rules for accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service administers 15 nutrition assistance programs that leverage American agricultural abundance to ensure children and low-income individuals and families have nutritious food to eat. The majority of participating SNAP stores are compliant with FNS rules and regulations. Additionally, the rate of trafficking among stores, which is the exchange of SNAP benefits for U.S. currency or other things of value, is about 1.6%.
However, today, FNS is announcing it has notified 23 retailers in Missouri and Illinois that they have violated SNAP regulations and is initiating action to revoke the authorization for these retailers to accept SNAP benefits. Twenty-one stores are charged with trafficking, and two stores are charged with selling ineligible items, which could lead to a six-month disqualification if FNS findings are upheld. After all due process has been completed, FNS will provide a follow up release with additional and updated information, including the names of retailers disqualified from the program.
USDA monitors SNAP purchases at retail food stores suspected of violating program rules and regulations, including trafficking and allowing the purchase of ineligible items. After concluding positive investigations, USDA takes administrative action to ensure store owners who violate SNAP rules and regulations can no longer participate in the program.
“While most retailers comply with federal rules and regulations, USDA will not tolerate any retailer abusing this vital program that helps millions of Americans put food on the table,” said USDA Food and Nutrition Service Acting Administrator Cindy Long. “Today, we are taking appropriate action against these retailers, and we are confident this will deter other retailers from committing similar violations.”
Retailer fraud can be reported via the USDA hotline at (800) 424-9121, online or via email at SNAPRetailerComplaints@usda.gov
All told, in Fiscal Year 2020, FNS implemented 2,192 administrative sanction actions against SNAP retailers. These actions stem from findings of program violations and include 1,144 retailers being permanently disqualified for trafficking.