There may be no more surf and turf for New Yorkers on food stamps.
State Sens. Patty Ritchie and Michael F. Nozzolio presented a bill on Wednesday that would prevent people from using food stamps to buy junk and luxury food items.
The goal is to reduce obesity by limiting the use of supplemental nutritional assistance program benefits to what the state determines to be essentials. The purpose of the SNAP program is to help families by subsidizing their food expenses, allowing them to include nutritious foods in their diet.
The two Republican senators say junk foods like candy and soda can be purchased using electronic benefit cards, even though they are deemed nonessential.
"These reforms, by limiting the purchase of non-essential and often more expensive items, also will help low income families and individuals stretch their food budgets to ensure that they are meeting their nutritional needs," a memo supporting the bill says.
In addition, the memo pins the justification of the bill on the national obesity epidemic.
"At a time when our state and nation are struggling with an obesity epidemic, it is critically important that taxpayer funded programs help low income consumers make wise and healthy food choices," the memo says.
Ritchie was not available for comment, a spokeswoman told CNBC. Nozzolio did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.