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Feds nix proposal to ban food stamps for sodas

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(CBS/AP) Are food stamps contributing to America's obesity epidemic? Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City seems to think so - so he proposed a plan to stop people from using the stamps to purchase sugary soft drinks, teas, and sport drinks.

But the Big Apple's top health cop got busted.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture rejected the proposal, saying it would be too big and complicated to implement. In addition, the department had concerns over its "potential viability and effectiveness."

The ban would have applied to any sweetened beverage that contains more than 10 calories per eight ounces.

In a statement released Friday, Bloomberg said his administration was disappointed by the USDA's decision.

"We think our innovative pilot would have done more to protect people from the crippling effects of preventable illnesses like diabetes and obesity than anything being proposed anywhere else in this country - and at little or no cost to taxpayers," he said.

Bloomberg and Gov. David Paterson had announced in October that they would seek a waiver from the USDA to start up a temporary program that would be evaluated before becoming permanent.

The city has been actively working to improve New Yorkers' diet choices, with campaigns such as one called "Pouring on the Pounds" that targets the excessive consumption of sugary drinks by linking it to obesity and diabetes.

What do you think? Was Mayor Bloomberg's plan a good one? Or should food stamp users be free to buy whatever they like?

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