DHEC seeks public input on proposed SNAP eligible food list

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control will conduct a series of forums to let the public recommend which foods they think should be removed from or should remain on the state's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) list of eligible foods, the agency announced Tuesday.

Obesity is a major contributor to the diseases that kill the most people in our state, make the most people sick, and cost our state the most money to treat, according to DHEC.

Research shows that by making better food choices, South Carolinians can prevent obesity and the deadly health problems that come with it.

At DHEC's last obesity stakeholder meeting, Gov. Nikki Haley and S.C. Department of Social Services Director Lillian Koller recently announced a plan to request a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help South Carolinians who participate in SNAP eat healthy and avoid obesity.

Currently, more than 878,000 South Carolinians participate in SNAP, commonly known as "food stamps," receiving cash benefits of $1.4 billion per year.

The list of eligible food items that can be purchased under SNAP include almost all consumable products, regardless of an item's nutritional value.

South Carolina now seeks to update its SNAP eligible foods list to better reflect the health needs of our state.

Below is a list of all of the meeting locations:

March 21, 2013

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Richland County Council Chambers

2020 Hampton Street

Columbia, SC 29204

March 28, 2013

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Bevis Conference Center

Pee Dee Mental Health Center

125 East Cheves Street

Florence, SC 29506

April 18, 2013

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Greenville County Council Chambers (County Square)

301 University Ridge

Greenville, SC 29601

May 2, 2013

5:30 - 7:30 PM

Sterett Hall at the Navy Yard

1530 7th Street and Hobson Avenue

North Charleston, SC 29405

Persons wishing to publicly comment during any of these meetings will be asked to register to speak at the door.

For those unable to attend the meetings, comments can be submitted by clicking here, by email or by calling 1-866-664-0483.