- Associated Press - Thursday, January 19, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A Laurel lawmaker is proposing legislation that would prevent people from using federal food assistance money to purchase energy drinks.

Republican Rep. Vince Ricci (RICH’-ee) argued Wednesday that he doesn’t believe energy drinks, such as Red Bull, are nutritious and that federal Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program dollars should be used to purchase nutritious food.

Lee Newspapers of Montana reports Ricci’s bill would direct the health department to apply for a federal waiver to prohibit the use of SNAP benefits to buy energy drinks.

Jamie Palagi, an administrator with the Department of Public Health and Human Services, says other states that sought similar waivers have failed.

The Food and Drug Administration says products that have a “nutrition facts” label are classified as foods and can be purchased with SNAP benefits, while those with a “supplement facts” label cannot. Most energy drinks have “nutrition facts” labels.

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