Isolated Thunderstorms
H 91° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    Current Conditions
    Isolated Thunderstorms. H 91° L 76°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    Isolated Thunderstorms. H 91° L 76°
  • cloudy-day
    Cloudy. H 91° L 70°

Krmg news on demand

00:00 | 00:00


Krmg traffic on demand

00:00 | 00:00


Krmg weather on demand

00:00 | 00:00

Energy drink label changes gaming food stamp system?

Energy drink label changes gaming food stamp system?

Energy drink label changes gaming food stamp system?

Energy drink label changes gaming food stamp system?

A few months ago, Andrea Guttierez noticed a subtle, but important change in the Monster energy drinks she bought as an occasional "pick-me-up."

It was the same drink, same logo, same rush delivered from heaps of caffeine and sugar.

The difference was a single word on the label, and that word suddenly made it possible for Guttierez to buy her Monster, along with many other brands of energy drinks, with her Washington State Food Stamp card.

"The labels on the cans used to say the word "supplement," said Guttierez. "Supplements are not allowed in the Food Stamp program, because (the government) wants you to buy food."

That changed when makers of energy drinks like Monster recently followed the lead of other companies like"Red Bull," changing the word "supplement" to the word "nutrition."

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, the word "nutrition" made Andrea's Monster a food product. "It was like OK!, well hey, now I can buy this drink on Food Stamps instead of cash. So I just started buying them on Food Stamps."

Lynnwood, Wash., convenience store owner Dan Kestle said he noticed an immediate uptick in sales of energy drinks to young customers using the Washington State "Electronic Balance Transfer" Food Stamp cards.

"People that buy the energy drinks, who typically were buying on EBT cards are younger 20 year-olds, 18-year-olds, and they'll buy the biggest can, with tax out the door, it cost over $5."

Kestle noted that the new nutrition label looked the same as the labels on juice or milk, and Kestle believes those should be among the only products eligible for purchase with Food Stamps. "I just don't think it's worthy of taxpayers paying for this sort of a benefit," he said.

The labels on beverages like Monster and Rock Star rolled out locally over the spring and summer. The manufacturers of energy drinks found a way to fit their products into the latest USDA rules, and open the tap on a massive new market of tax-supported customers. According to the USDA website:

When considering the eligibility of energy drinks, and other branded products, the primary determinant is the type of product label chosen by the manufacturer to conform to Food and Drug Administration guidelines:

  • Energy drinks that have a nutrition facts label are eligible foods
  • Energy drinks that have a supplement facts label are classified by the FDA as supplements, and are therefore not eligible
  • USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retailers/eligible.htm

Customers using Food Stamps to buy the beverages also noticed something disturbing at the same time.

"Some people using their benefits started buying a lot more (energy drinks)," said Guttierez. "They were buying them in bulk, I mean they'd buy whole flats of them, four or five cases at a time!"

Guttierez and other Food Stamp recipients said it was not uncommon to see those same people selling cans of energy drinks on the streets. State DSHS investigators said that would be classified as Food Stamp fraud.

"Basically they're wanting the money they spent on food stamps to come back in cash," said Guttierez.

Some local food bank workers said they're noticing another troubling trend. They see some Food Stamp recipients buying expensive energy drinks instead of nutritious food.

"I find it offensive because we need to be able to encourage the people that are receiving those funds to consume and purchase real food with those funds," said Janice Bowen, a King County food bank worker who also receives Food Stamps.

What happens to the EBT? it goes on that (energy drinks) and the food doesn't get purchased in the manner that it should, if at all."

No legislator in Washington State has proposed eliminating energy drinks from the Food Stamp program, but lawmakers in seven other states have — and in each case, the federal government has overruled the idea.

Texas State Rep. Terry Canales recently introduced a strongly-worded bill, determined to stop the purchase of energy drinks with taxpayer funds.

"There's nothing nutritious or healthy about these products," said Canales. "In fact, they're potentially dangerous to children, and we don't believe that you should be able to be using government to be buying it."

Canales points out, energy shots, such as Five Hour Energy (which includes similar ingredients) are not eligible for purchase with Food Stamps, because their labels currently use the word "supplement."

Canales is also suspicious of the marketing motives of the drink manufacturers. "Taxpayers should not be funding this at all," said Canales.

His bill, which he hopes will be noticed by other states, is still being worked out by state committees.

Read More

There are no comments yet. Be the first to post your thoughts. or Register.

  • Following through on a prime 2016 campaign pledge from President Donald Trump, the House on Thursday approved a $1.6 billion down payment to start building a new border barriers in Texas and California, adding that money to a broader package containing four of the twelve bills that fund operations for the federal government in 2018. “The best thing we could do as a good neighbor to Mexico, is to build a wall where it is needed, as President Trump has talked about,” said Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX). “When you go to various portions of the border now, it is a single strand of wire,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ). “A border wall is important, it’s imperative.” The plan would pay for 60 miles of a new barrier – both in the form of a wall and a levee. All of that would be in Texas. There would also be 14 miles of new fencing in California. “Some things are working on the border are working,” argued Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX). “And one of those things that is working is a wall in the big cities.” House passes spending package w/ $1.6B for Trump's border wall, 235-192. 5 Rs voted no, while 5 Ds voted yes. — Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) July 27, 2017 Democrats denounced the plan, as they pointed out that Mr. Trump’s campaign pledge of making Mexico pay for the wall is not happening. “Mexico is not paying for it, nor would anybody in their right mind think that Mexico is ever going to pay for it,” said Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL). “Not many of us believed that,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY). “This money should be used to give the American people real security, not politically motivated gimmicks,” said Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL). Dishonest media says Mexico won't be paying for the wall if they pay a little later so the wall can be built more quickly. Media is fake! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 9, 2017 There was no direct vote on the $1.6 billion in border wall money in the House, as Republican leaders used the rules to prevent that from happening, worried that there would not be a majority in favor of such funding. Two of the five House Republicans who voted against bringing the $1.6 billion in wall funding up for a vote represent districts along large swaths of the border – Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX), and Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM). Hurd has argued for a high-tech approach to the border, with sensors, radar, drones and cameras, instead of a wall. “We can’t double down on a Third Century approach to solve 21st Century problems if we want a viable long-term solution,” Hurd said. Texas GOP split on wall: Rep. Carter (supports) serves a district just north of Austin Rep. Hurd (opposed) oversees 800 miles on border — Sarah Ferris (@sarahnferris) July 27, 2017 The border wall funding was included along with spending for four other areas of government – for the U.S. military, the Legislative Branch, energy and water programs, as well as spending for veterans programs. Eight other funding bills – including spending on the Department of Homeland Security – are not going to be voted on in the House before lawmakers leave Capitol Hill for a summer break that extends until Labor Day.
  • UPDATE: Late Thursday afternoon police confirmed that evidence shows a husband shot and killed his wife, then turned the gun on himself in midtown Tulsa. Relatives reportedly told investigators the couple had experienced some marital problems recently, but they never thought the situation would turn violent. Homicide Detective Jason White told KRMG at the scene both the husband and wife were in their thirties. Police have not released their names, because not all family members have been notified. The woman’s death becomes the 50th homicide of 2017 in Tulsa. Police were called to a home near 15th and Sheridan Thursday afternoon. Investigators on the scene tell a KRMG reporter that the bodies of a husband and wife in their 30s were found inside the house. It’s believed to be a murder-suicide. Only one shell casing has been found so far.  Police did find a gun. Homicide detectives say the couple had two young sons who were out of town.  Listen to NEWS102.3 KRMG for the latest developments.
  • Police say a Massachusetts motorist has been arrested after getting out of her sport utility vehicle, removing her shirt and charging topless while holding a knife toward another motorist. The Cape Cod Times reports the other motorist turned out to be an off-duty police officer who called the Sandwich Police Department to report the woman.  Police say on Facebook that they received a call Saturday of an SUV driving erratically.  They say the driver attempted to crash into the caller's vehicle before pulling up behind it at a red light.  Police say the woman got out of the SUV, removed her shirt and ran toward the other vehicle while holding a dagger-like knife.  They say the 39-year-old woman is facing several charges, including assault with a dangerous weapon.
  • With half of the debate completed in the U.S. Senate on a House-passed bill to overhaul the Obama health law, Republicans have yet to reveal the details of what may be the only GOP option that can get a majority of votes, a streamlined measure which would change only a few provisions of current health law. “I don’t know what the “skinny” repeal looks like,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) to a group of reporters, as he acknowledged doing the bare minimum on health care might be about the only way to keep GOP options open on changes to Obamacare. “What you’re really voting on is to try to keep the discussions alive between the House and Senate,” Corker told reporters. Corker says 'content' of skinny bill not the point, rather it is 'forcing mechanism' for conference with House — Peter Sullivan (@PeterSullivan4) July 26, 2017 The way the “skinny” Republican option has been described in recent days is this: + Zero out the tax penalty on the individual mandate (note – this does not “repeal” the mandate – it just reduces the penalty to $0). + Zero out the employer mandate penalty + Repeal the medical device tax. But there were rumblings on Wednesday that the details of the plan would have to be fiddled with, leaving GOP Senators in the dark on what they might be voting on late on Thursday night, or Friday. McCain, with his usual sass, on where he's at with skinny repeal: 'It changes every hour, how can I judge it?' — Emma Loop (@LoopEmma) July 26, 2017 “I want to see what it says; I don’t know what it says – no one knows what it says yet,” Corker said. “All of this right now is procedural setup to get to an end that none of us are certain what it’s going to look like,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). “I’d rather comment when we see it actually formulated,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) of the “skinny” Senate bill. Down at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, President Trump was continuing to press GOP Senators for action, using his platform on Twitter to make one more direct appeal on Thursday morning. Come on Republican Senators, you can do it on Healthcare. After 7 years, this is your chance to shine! Don't let the American people down! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 27, 2017 But as the day began, it wasn’t clear whether there would be 50 Republican votes for any GOP health plan in the Senate – skinny or not. For seven years, many Republicans and conservative groups have pushed a story line that wasn’t completely true about the Congressional debate on the Obama health law – that few hearings were held, that the bill text was kept a secret until the bitter end, that the House and Senate votes were done in the middle of the night, and more. Having covered the legislative battle over the Obama health law, many of those criticisms weren’t entirely accurate – but the irony right now is that the GOP may be following a health care script in 2017 which mirrors many of their own complaints from 2009 and 2010.
  • A man was killed and seven people were injured while riding the Fire Ball at the Ohio State Fair in Columbus on Wednesday. >> Watch the news report here Here are five things to know about the ride:  1. The Ohio Department of Agriculture issued a permit for the Fire Ball to Amusements of America, a carnival operator, on Wednesday, according to state documents obtained by WHIO.  >> 1 dead after ride malfunctions at Ohio State Fair 2. The Fire Ball swing riders 40 feet about the fair midway — the area where games, rides, entertainment and food booths are grouped — and spins them at 13 revolutions per minute, according to the company website.  3. The state’s chief ride inspector, Mike Vartorella, said he and his four-person crew signed off on the Fire Ball. Vartorella called the Fire Ball 'a spectacular piece' of equipment on Wednesday.  4. The Fire Ball received a “satisfactory” rating on its daily inspection report on Wednesday. The inspection report includes a total of 25 points of inspection that must be reviewed daily, including checking the attachment brackets on the seat, making sure the ride will not start with a seat fault light on, and checking operational controls, according to state documents obtained by WHIO. 5. The Fire Ball debuted in 2002 and is one of Amusements of America’s most popular thrill rides, according to the company’s website.