Congress Delays Compliance Date for New SNAP Rules;
Revised Rules Coming

NATSO Industry Newsletter, May 2017
Congress has passed and President Trump has signed legislation containing a provision requiring the Department of Agriculture to rewrite a provision of the SNAP retailer eligibility rule issued in late 2016. That rule’s new requirements, which were scheduled to take effect on May 17, 2017, will now be delayed until the Department of Agriculture can rewrite them to comport with Congress’s new directives. To read the entire article and the explanation given for the delay, please click here.

FDA Issues Proposed Guidance on Distributing
Free Samples of Tobacco Products

NATSO Industry Newsletter, March 2017
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products has released a proposed guidance document explaining how manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can comply with the agency’s prohibition against distributing free samples of tobacco products. Specifically, the guidance outlines the situations in which the sale of tobacco products – including e-cigarettes – to consumers at less than their full price (e.g., coupons, discounts, rewards programs, etc.) would not violate the ban. Please click here to read the entire article.

Texas WIC Program Update

Split Tender

TX WIC Program has made several updates to policies and to authorized products as we head into a new contract year. The most important is that all WIC Vendors must be able to process Split Tender transactions by September 30, 2017. As of 12:01 am on October 1, if your POS System can’t process a Split Tender transaction, your contract will be voided. TX WIC is following federal guidelines regarding this policy. Any new vendors applying to WIC or any new vendor outlets opening effective August 1 will be required to process Split Tender transactions as of 8/1/17. Vendor compliance for this new rule is found in WV: 01.0.  WIC Policies 0.1, 0.8 and 0.10 were updated this year.

Your Compliance team may want to visit the WIC Vendor Policies located at: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/wichd/policy/table_of_contents.shtm

Vendor Training

Just a reminder that it is a requirement that one representative from each vendor outlet, or a new WIC Vendor must complete an approved interactive training class annually. Texas WIC web site lists regularly scheduled webinars that allow each vendor to remain in compliance with this requirement. Failure to have a representative from each vendor location attend this interactive training annually will result in the loss of your vendor contract. Please click here to see compliance note TX WIC is sending out to those vendors who haven’t attended the live (webinar) training. In addition any front end employees (owners, managers and management staff, cashiers, stockers, administrative clerks, front end clerks) must take the current online WIC Vendor Training Program that is also available on this WIC web page. The WIC compliance note they are sending out on this is issue can be found here.

You might also go to the TX WIC Web site and you can see the number of webinars currently scheduled that might fit your schedule or log on if your team needs just the on line training. The link is: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/wichd/tng/on-site_vendor-cal.shtm

Authorized WIC Products

TX WIC also recently released a list of new authorized products that will be available for purchase effective October 1, 2017. Please click here to review those new items. In addition, The 18 and 36 oz. of Malt O Meal products in addition to few other authorized WIC items will be deleted effective January 1, 2018. This gives the vendors time to move out any inventory. The Malt O Meal products are being deleted due to the company’s reformulation and the new formulation doesn’t meet WIC standards for Iron supplements.

TX WIC Vendor Contact

In this day and age of technology, more and more communication is being processed via e-mail and the elimination of paper communication. When your WIC vendor contract is approved, each contract requires a corporate contact (one) and all of their contact information that TX WIC will use to send out correspondence on the vendor contract, compliance issues, vendor alerts, and program updates. It is the WIC Vendor’s responsibility to make sure the information on file is correct and current. Currently, information coming from WIC regarding policy, compliance, product changes, program changes, or contracts would be electronically sent to this one individual. The form used to communicate this person’s contact information to WIC is found at: http://www.dshs.texas.gov/wichd/vo/vendor-contact-update.aspx

BUT… Texas WIC has agreed to allow vendors to add a second/back-up person to the corporate contact list. It will only be for information regarding policy changes, product changes, compliance issues or program changes. The second/back-up person will not be involved in the contract process. It is highly recommend that each WIC Vendor have a second/back-up person to receive this type information so that communication between WIC and the vendor is transmitted to all vendor locations and vendor employees to insure compliance with any proposed changes the communication might contain. Click on this link to download the form to fill out for your second/back-up contact. Once completed send the form to: DSHS WIC Vendor Relations

SNAP Program Statistics Update

SNAP Program participation continues to remain basically flat with a very slight decline over a twelve month period.  The Program continues to maintain an average dollar benefit per household of $271.00 which equals the twelve month rolling average.  A look back, indicates last year there was slight uptick in participation.

Numbers provided by FNS (Food Nutrition Service) that lag 2-3 months behind the statistics TX posts, you can see we don’t show the greater declines in participation or in benefit dollars available to SNAP or WIC participates as our neighboring states or even the national average. Please contact Joe Williams –jwilliams@txretailers.org or 936-258-3414 if you have any questions regarding the statistics update.

Month       Cases          Participates                 Dollars                 Avg. per Case

Jun 17     1,628,291                3,839,907              $439,662,775.00        $271.00
Jul 17      1,633,091                3,847,807              $442,187,772.00        $271.00

Twelve Month Rolling Average     
Jun-Jul    1,644,092              3,884,992             $445,658,646.00         $271.00

Look Back To Last Year (2016) at This Time
Jul 16      1,632,846                3,870,216             $443,905,999.00        $272.00
Aug 16    1,649,090                3,911,802             $449,422,292.00        $273.00

How do we compare on SNAP participation to our neighbors and nation-wide? Latest information is May 17 versus May 16.

State            Participation             Households/Cases             Benefits/Dollars

National             <-4.6%>                                     <3.9%>                          <5.1%>
Texas                <-0.5%>                                         0.00                              <-0.8%>
Louisiana           <-4.1%>                                     <-2.8%>                         <-5.3%>
Arkansas           <-6.7%>                                      <-7.6%>                         <-8.4%>
Oklahoma          <-2.4%>                                     <-1.6%>                         <-1.5%>
New Mexico       <-4.3%>                                    <-2.0%>                         <-5.3%>

How do we compare on WIC Program participation tour neighbors and nation-wide? The latest numbers available are July 17 compared to July 16. 

State                                                Participation
National Average                                <-5.7%>
Texas                                                    <-4.3%>
Louisiana                                              <-6.0%>
Arkansas                                              <-5.0%>
Oklahoma                                             <-4.7%>
New Mexico                                          <-0.6%>