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USDA Takes Action Against Buffalo (NY) Area SNAP Retailers for Rules Violations

BOSTON, MA, January 11, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recently announced it has taken action against retailers suspected of violating USDA rules for accepting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.

Today, FNS is announcing it has notified 42 retailers in the Buffalo, NY area that they have violated SNAP regulations and is initiating action to revoke the authorization for these retailers to accept SNAP benefits. Twenty-three stores are charged with trafficking, five of which have been permanently disqualified from accepting SNAP. The remainder are awaiting final resolution. Nineteen 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 the exchange of SNAP benefits for U.S. currency or other things of value, also known as 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.

“USDA will not tolerate retailers abusing this vital program that helps millions of Americans put food on the table,” said USDA Food & Nutrition Service Administrator Pam Miller. “Today, we are taking appropriate action against these retailers to ensure they will no longer be able to violate program rules and regulations.”

Retailer fraud can be reported via the USDA hotline at (800) 424-9121, online or via email at [email protected].

Background

All told, in Fiscal Year 2020, FNS implemented 1,959 administrative sanction actions against SNAP retailers. These actions stem from findings of program violations and include 1,040 retailers being permanently disqualified for trafficking.

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. FNS also co-develops the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which provide science-based nutrition recommendations and serve as the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy.

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USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

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