Fetterman introduces legislation regulating SNAP retailers

29 February 2024-U.S. Senators John Fetterman and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today introduced the Food and Nutrition Delivery Safety Act. The new legislation would require Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) authorized retailers to pay good wages, ensure SNAP groceries are delivered safely, and protect SNAP users’ online data. It would also establish standards for the safe and secure online use of SNAP ordering and delivery, and the safe and healthful delivery of food ordered through SNAP.

“SNAP is a lifeline for working families across the Commonwealth and the nation. We must ensure the food delivered through SNAP is delivered safely by introducing protections for consumers and workers alike,” said Senator Fetterman. “This bill will require SNAP authorized retailers to guarantee both fair wages and good working conditions for their employees and benefit protections for SNAP recipients.”

Currently, grocery stores are shifting work away from union workers to lower paid, independent contractors who lack rights and benefits. While the government has few ways to influence the pay and benefits of private sector workers, it can ensure that government grants, tax incentives and contracts go to employers that pay their workers a living wage and support unionization efforts. The USDA determines who is an authorized SNAP retailer and not. While the USDA has recently begun authorizing online and delivery for SNAP purchases, there is nothing that requires the food to be delivered safely or the workers to be paid well in the retailer authorization.

The Food and Nutrition Delivery Safety Act would require the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), in collaboration with FDA, Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish two sets of standards. The first standards are for the safe and secure online use of websites or apps used to purchase food through SNAP to support the user’s digital protection/cybersecurity. The second standards aim to promote fair and safe working conditions—including paying prevailing wages—and to keep food safe and secure during delivery. After such standards are established, FNS would issue regulations on reporting requirements for SNAP retail participants.

The Food and Nutrition Delivery Safety Act is endorsed by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW).