Supplemental nutrition assistance program data: Why disclosure is needed

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program(SNAP)provides funding to low-income households to purchase food at participating stores. The goals of the program include reducing hunger, improving nutrition, and strengthening the US food system. These are interrelated, as food access and choice depend on availability. SNAP generates data that could be useful for program evaluation and evidence-based policymaking to reach public health goals. However, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not collect or disclose all SNAPrelated data. In particular, the USDA does not systematically collect food expenditure data, and although it does collect transaction (sales) and redemption data (the amount retailers are reimbursed through SNAP), it does not release these data at the store level. In 2018, Congress quietly changed the law to prohibit the USDA from disclosing storelevel transaction and redemption data, and in 2019, the US Supreme Court blocked disclosure of these data. These federal proceedings can informthe outcome of additional efforts to disclose SNAP-related data, as well as future research and policy evaluation to support improved public health outcomes for SNAP beneficiaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1659-1663
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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