Can we start a thread listing the sometimes tricky brands of food/foods that you can/can't buy with food stamps? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know it can be embarressing to get through the check-out line and be asked for money you don't have for 'taxable food items or supplements' when you were expecting to pay with food stamps. Sure, you could have asked a worker first, but if the people don't seem friendly it can feel too intimidating to out yourself as a poor person and ask about a food stamp purchase...Let's start a list of food that people know you can't/can buy that might appear otherwise if you didn't already know! What things have you thought you could get, but couldn't, and what comparable thing did you find to replace it with? We just started, and so far I've observed a few confusing food stamp situations, such as:

If you try and buy "Traditional Medicionals" teas it won't go through on food stamps (must be considered 'medicine'), but other herbal healing teas such as "Yogi Teas" will. Also, Cliff Bars won't work, but many other 'bars' will. "Splenda" can be bought on food stamps--is that food lol?

Anyway, I'm interesting in--alternative sweeteners--can I buy xylitol sweetener/gum with fs (dentist just recommended it and it is so pricey) ? I tried buying Trident w/xylitol and it worked, but would love a more natural brand like Epic or Spry--anyone had success? I'm also interested in health bars that might blurr into the 'supplements' category and be disallowed--what bars have you been able to get? Also, I've love to be able to give my kids a fish or flax oil supplement--any brand that rings up as 'food?'

Thanks Mamas--I feel kinda nervous making a post like this, but a little more information might go a long way towords making my family feel comfortable in the store.

My list of suprising foods that can't be bought on fs:

any Traditional Medicinals tea
any Cliff Bar

That CAN:

San Francisco sourdough starter packets
Cascadian Farm bars
whole birthday cakes from bakery

????--Emergenc-C drink packets? bulk xylitol? stevia?
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#2 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 04:41 PM
 
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It may depend on your store.

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#3 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 05:34 PM
 
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It really does depend on the store.
Whole Foods, Trader Joes and our local HFS all take FS and I can get anything in that store that is NOT a vitamin or hot deli food.

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#4 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 05:39 PM
 
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I don't get FS, but I'm a cashier in a grocery store. Someone came through my line with cold potato salad from the deli and it wasn't covered by FS. I thought that was weird. I knew you couldn't buy hot prepared stuff, but I didn't know you couldn't buy cold prepared stuff. I wonder if you can buy deli meat.

ETA: And also recently I had something that was covered that I totally didn't expect to be. I was like, "woah, cool!", and now I can't remember what it was. I'll have to think about it.
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#5 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 05:59 PM
 
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I get COLD Deli Meat and COLD deli salads all the time. One is also supposed to be able to get seeds to grow food, but around here that is not approved.
I wish stores would actually READ the MANUAL and put the right things in their computer. Thats usually why things don't get approved. Stores aren't putting those items in the computer system.

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#6 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 07:08 PM
 
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I remember my roommate in college using foodstamps to buy sushi at the grocery store.
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#7 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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I was surprised the other day when my vegetable seeds were covered. I was set to pay cash for them, but I decided DS and I should have some milk duds so I swiped my FS card first and it paid for the whole $7.

Any supplements covered? If not, I really think dietary supplements should be covered, if only multivitamins.

I know hot food can't be purchased with FS. I've never had trouble with cold stuff from the deli.

You can use them at Papa Murphy's, the take and bake pizza place. It's a ton better than frozen pizza from the grocery store. About the same price because they regularly have deals on 1 topping larges ($7 last week I think) and they are bigger and better quality. I treat myself once a month to that.
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#8 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 08:32 PM
 
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I was under the impression you could buy any type of food, as long as it was not a HOT deli food item. (Cold deli foods are fine)

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#9 of 35 Old 05-20-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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I can get GT's kombucha
I also buy a rotisserie chicken from the deli and fs covers it.
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#10 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 12:05 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mama_b View Post
I don't get FS, but I'm a cashier in a grocery store. Someone came through my line with cold potato salad from the deli and it wasn't covered by FS. I thought that was weird. I knew you couldn't buy hot prepared stuff, but I didn't know you couldn't buy cold prepared stuff. I wonder if you can buy deli meat.
That is against the federal food stamp regulations, the potato salad should have been covered. Deli meats are covered. Actually anything from the deli is covered as long as it is not purchased hot. I can buy deli whole chickens, ribs, pulled pork, deviled eggs, buckets of boneless chicken tenders, any deli salad, etc., as long as they are cold. I don't buy all that stuff, well not usually, lol, just giving examples. One local store even puts little stickers on those products to let people know they can use food stamps to buy them.

You should bring this up to your management, the potato salad thing is a clear violation.
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#11 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 12:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by shaywyn View Post
That is against the federal food stamp regulations, the potato salad should have been covered. Deli meats are covered. Actually anything from the deli is covered as long as it is not purchased hot. I can buy deli whole chickens, ribs, pulled pork, deviled eggs, buckets of boneless chicken tenders, any deli salad, etc., as long as they are cold. I don't buy all that stuff, well not usually, lol, just giving examples. One local store even puts little stickers on those products to let people know they can use food stamps to buy them.

You should bring this up to your management, the potato salad thing is a clear violation.

Yeah I'm thinking it's not in the database right or it was mislabeled at the deli. I know when I worked at walmart, sometimes a certain code wouldn't work so they'd just use the code for another item with the same price.
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#12 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 12:57 AM
 
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Um....I buy cliff bars with my FS all the time. I'm in Oregon - maybe it's different here. Never had a problem with anything except those hemp shake mixes...
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#13 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 01:07 AM
 
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does anyone else find it ironic that you can't buy vitamins on FS, but chips and sodas are covered all the way? or toilet paper. it was always frustrating to have to scrounge up money to buy TP even tho I could get cold deli pizzas, no problem.

one great way to save on cleaning supplies is to use baking soda and vinegar for most things. club soda also is the best glass cleaner ever. lemons work good for cutting grease... these are all covered by FS

i know veggie seeds from the garden center are covered, even tho growing food in my area would take nothing short of a miracle to simply sprout and flourish in this rocky/clay DRY ground.

i know monster energy drinks aren't covered, and i used to really wish they were

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#14 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 03:16 AM
 
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I can not get bee pollen with my food stamps even though it is with other bulk foods that I can get with food stamps. I wish I could get flax oil with fs but I settle for coconut oil instead. I've also had the problem where I can get one brand of herbal tea but not the other. I have yet to find a store where I can get protein powder (other than bulk soy) with fs.

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#15 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 05:20 AM
 
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I think its really going to depend on your state and your store. I think a good rule of thumb to have is to carry a few extra dollars with you just in case something isnt covered. (i know easier said then done sometimes)
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#16 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 11:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by shaywyn View Post
That is against the federal food stamp regulations, the potato salad should have been covered. Deli meats are covered. Actually anything from the deli is covered as long as it is not purchased hot. I can buy deli whole chickens, ribs, pulled pork, deviled eggs, buckets of boneless chicken tenders, any deli salad, etc., as long as they are cold. I don't buy all that stuff, well not usually, lol, just giving examples. One local store even puts little stickers on those products to let people know they can use food stamps to buy them.

You should bring this up to your management, the potato salad thing is a clear violation.
I did not know that! I was under the impression that anything ready-to-eat is not allowed- I'm so going to buy deli lunch meat from now on.

Here's a question- is soy protein powder considered a vitamin?
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#17 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone. I too would love to hear if there's any kind of protein-ish powder that would ring up as food. My toddler is too skinny. Baby formula works on fs, right? Maybe there is a toddler nutrician powder product I can try. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to look at the price tage or something and see if it is coded as "food?"

I think I'm going to try and by a bag of powdered xylitol--it is kept right with the suger/rapidura/honey--so that makes me think this store codes it as food, since it is not over with the supplements.
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#18 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Softheart View Post
My toddler is too skinny. Baby formula works on fs, right? Maybe there is a toddler nutrician powder product I can try.
FS covers Pediasure, well at least here... I definitely agree though it t depends on the store because there are so many questionable items that can be seen as food & non-food, it can be a guessing game sometimes.

I also know that WIC will cover Pediasure w/ a RX if your toddler is medically underweight (low BMI) as opposed to just an otherwise-healthy skinny minny.

ETA: Yes, Baby Formula is covered...I still get Similac Go and Grow to supplement table foods.

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#19 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 06:31 PM
 
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i work in a very small chain natural foods grocery store and part of my job is to restrict certain items from being bought with food stamps. the lines are a bit fuzzy and i can never find out who to talk to about what is and inst allowed. but i am positive that cold potato salad should be allowed. in my store... the lines are blurry but it depends on what dept you are shopping from. we have coconut oil in grocery and in supplements(different brands), if you buy it from grocery you can use fs, supplements no. emergen c packets and xylitol are in our supps dept and so no fs allowed for those. bulk spices yes, bulk herbs no. the only things for the deli that you can not buy with fs is hot soup/hot foods or "for here" foods, hot pizza and prepared made to order sandwiches (grab and go sandwiches are okay). and hot rotisserie meats, but if they are cold it is okay. i think it is really confusing, i used to have it so that nothing from the deli could be bought with fs and then realized that was wrong but to my defense the wording is vague... "no house pre-pared foods or hot foods" or something like that. well, we make everything in house. anyway, if your store has it wrong or you think they might let them know and they should research it for you. maybe not so much with a big chain, you might have to go to corp, but if its a smaller one or even a trader joes there might just be a little old me in the back who is trying their best but just confused. i tend to be kind of strict because i worry that if we are doing it wrong and letting people buy things they shouldn't then we might lose the right to offer fs. and i figure that would be pretty awful for a lot of our families, we are the only place to get a lot or organic in this town. i would rather they not buy a clif bar or a cookie then not be able to use fs for org fruits and veggies and dairy/meats.

i am rambler! sorry!

  

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#20 of 35 Old 05-21-2009, 06:36 PM
 
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Thanks everyone. I too would love to hear if there's any kind of protein-ish powder that would ring up as food. My toddler is too skinny. Baby formula works on fs, right? Maybe there is a toddler nutrician powder product I can try. Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to look at the price tage or something and see if it is coded as "food?"
we put nutrional yeast on everything (like salt). and we buy it in bulk and in my store at least it is fs eligible.

also, check the back, if something says supplement facts instead of nutrition facts it will most def. not be covered. however there are of course exceptions.

  

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#21 of 35 Old 06-10-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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I am so excited we just got approved for FS, and I checked the site, not only do they cover seeds, but also plants for growing food! Not flowers or plants to feed birds, though. They also cover ice, btw.

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#22 of 35 Old 06-10-2009, 12:30 PM
 
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The only thing i haven't been able to buy here are:
Energy drinks
and hot deli items

We can buy cliff bars, because i do it all the time. I also can buy cold deli, and sushi, and i think protien powder? I bought a small packet and am not 100% sure it was covered.

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#23 of 35 Old 06-10-2009, 12:48 PM
 
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Here in MI, protein powder can be purchased with food stamps.

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#24 of 35 Old 06-10-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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It really does vary from store to store. I've found that one local store includes baking soda, another does not. One time prepared horseradish rang up as "non food." In one store, bottle deposits were not covered (although the seltzer itself was), while in another store, the entire cost of the seltzer was covered by food stamps. (I think the 2nd store was in error- since I can get cash back when I return the bottles.)

Most of the time, I just pay cash if it doesn't come up for food stamps, especially if it's a small amount (like 50 cents for a box of baking soda I bought for cleaning anyway.) But one time, a $6 block of cheese came up non-food stamps- I guess it rang up like prepared deli food instead of "groceries." That time I questioned it, the cashier asked a supervisor, and the supervisor fixed it so I could pay for the cheese with food stamps that day. I'm not sure if it's fixed in their computer though.

ITA that it's crazy the way you can buy soda or candy with FS but not vitamins.

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#25 of 35 Old 06-10-2009, 02:36 PM
 
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So, huh.

I happened to wander into a small convenience store yesterday that sells hot, cooked food that you can use your food stamps to buy.
The catch is you have to pay for whatever you order before they actually cook it and only certain items on the small menu are covered.

They had a small deli/kitchen area at the back of the store and the menu consisted of pizza, hamburgers, fries, chili fries, etc. I can't remember which food the counter lady said you could buy with stamps, but I do remember pizza was covered and nachos were not. Oh, and cheese fries were covered at the moment because their cheese heating machine was broken and they were having to manually heat up the cheese at the moment.

I didn't buy anything but I was extremely curious since I read a sign they had up and of course, I just had to ask questions!

I am not sure what they are doing is entirely legal, but there you have it.

Oh, and Ruthla, ime, bottle deposits are covered by food stamps.
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#26 of 35 Old 06-11-2009, 03:27 PM
 
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What I have been able to figure out so far is that, at least around where I live, Clif bars are marked as supplements and NOT food stamp eligible at Wal-mart but are marked as food and thus eligible for food stamp purchase at Krogers. Weird, but what I have found.

Flax seed oil, I haven't been able to find anywhere that will let you buy it on food stamps.

Our health food store allows herbal, yogi teas with food stamps.

I completely didn't know about garden seeds being eligible, you all have made my day.:

On a related note. They just changed the WIC around and we get vouchers for fresh veggies/fruit. Although they told us at the office that any fresh veggie/fruit is eligible with exception of white potatoes and deli trays I have found that the stores do not ring up anything that isn't "loose" as WIC eligible. Baby spinach or salad mix in a bag no-no, but "loose" spinach and individual heads of lettuce yes. Weird once again. Wanted to see if any of you have experienced this.

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#27 of 35 Old 06-12-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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I was surprised the other day when my vegetable seeds were covered. I was set to pay cash for them, but I decided DS and I should have some milk duds so I swiped my FS card first and it paid for the whole $7.

Any supplements covered? If not, I really think dietary supplements should be covered, if only multivitamins.

I know hot food can't be purchased with FS. I've never had trouble with cold stuff from the deli.

You can use them at Papa Murphy's, the take and bake pizza place. It's a ton better than frozen pizza from the grocery store. About the same price because they regularly have deals on 1 topping larges ($7 last week I think) and they are bigger and better quality. I treat myself once a month to that.
The vegetable seeds I knew about. But Papa Murphy's? Really? Hmmm if we get approved, I will have to ask about that. I get coupons all the time.

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#28 of 35 Old 06-12-2009, 09:43 PM
 
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Your in lawrence right? So are we, and yes fs definitely cover papa murphy's. We get it once a month, or once every other month. Its pretty cheap with all the coupons and stuff, and the kids love their cheese wheel.

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#29 of 35 Old 06-12-2009, 09:54 PM
 
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Your in lawrence right? So are we, and yes fs definitely cover papa murphy's. We get it once a month, or once every other month. Its pretty cheap with all the coupons and stuff, and the kids love their cheese wheel.
Yes we are. This is great news! I do make my own pizza, but sometimes I am just too tired. Its nice to have one of these in the freezer.

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#30 of 35 Old 06-14-2009, 12:40 AM
 
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Ooh ooh ooh! I just found this recent pdf file, published by the government, that lists many of the "gray area" items by brand and whether or not they are covered. I specifically see that Cliff bars and some soy protein powders are covered. (I know nothing about these Cliff bars, just remembered you all mentioning they were sometimes not covered. lol)

http://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/retaile...gible_list.pdf
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