Update: HCR 105, a resolution requesting that SNAP benefits be restricted on certain foods passed the Louisiana House of Representatives with a 75 to 21 vote. The Senate is now considering whether to ask Congress to approve the request that would ban the use of an EBT card to purchase unhealthy snacks and drinks.

Details of which foods such a measure would restrict are outlined below.


Lafayette, LA (KPEL News) - Louisiana is known for having a great community and even better food. Our people like to cook for friends and family, and they love to eat. Every gathering, small or large, is wrapped around food. It's no wonder the Bayou State has one of the highest obesity rates in the country.

More than 40% of residents in Louisiana, Oklahoma, and West Virginia self-reported obesity to the CDC in 2022. Obesity leads to numerous dangerous conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer. The Louisiana Department of Health and medical professionals have worked for decades to curb the obesity epidemic, and now a state representative hopes a plea to the U.S. Congress will help toward the effort.

obesity map

State Representative Troy Romero, a Republican from Jeff Davis Parish, authored a resolution (HCR105) that would ultimately remove certain items from the list of foods that can be purchased with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

The resolution notes that the USDA allows fatty, unhealthy foods to be purchased with the money distributed to SNAP recipients and acknowledges the Louisiana Greaux to Good program that allows and encourages families to buy more fruits and vegetables. Fresh produce and less processed foods are known to be better options for weight management than their pre-packaged counterparts.

Representative Troy Romero
Louisiana House of Representatives

SNAP benefits won't currently pay for alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or most hot food ready for consumption, like from a restaurant. The Food and Nutrition Act of 2008, however, allows the purchase of foods like candy, cake, potato chips, and soda.

SNAP is funded by the federal government, but it is administered by the Louisiana  Department of Children and Family Services. House Concurrent Resolution 105 (HCR105) requests that Congress grant a waiver to the state to disallow foods that are unhealthy. In order for the request to be sent to Washington, HCR105 would need approval of both chambers of the Louisiana Legislature.

Louisiana Purchase Card
Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services

The resolution doesn't spell out which foods specifically would be removed from the list, but it does say:

... the Department of Children and Family Services shall work with medical professional and nutrition experts to determine which foods to remove from the list of approved foods to promote the health of children and families 30 receiving SNAP benefits.

The request may arrive in Washington DC at an opportune time. Earlier this year, Representative Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, proposed asking states to limit SNAP purchases to "only nutrient-dense foods and beverages." His reasoning is the same as Representative Romero's: combat obesity. In other words, fatty, unhealthy foods.

Nearly 400,000 households in Louisiana received SNAP benefits in 2022, with an average payment of $500 per family. The numbers from June of 2022, according to PAR, had reduced at that point in time to near pre-pandemic levels.

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