U.S Code last checked for updates: Jun 18, 2024
§ 2018.
Approval of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns
(a)
Authorization to accept and redeem benefits
(1)
Applications.—
(A)
In general.—
Regulations issued pursuant to this chapter shall provide for the submission of applications for approval by retail food stores and wholesale food concerns which desire to be authorized to accept and redeem benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance program and for the approval of those applicants whose participation will effectuate the purposes of the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
(B)
Factors for consideration.—
In determining the qualifications of applicants, there shall be considered among such other factors as may be appropriate, the following:
(i)
the nature and extent of the food business conducted by the applicant;
(ii)
the volume of benefit transactions which may reasonably be expected to be conducted by the applicant food store or wholesale food concern;
(iii)
whether the applicant is located in an area with significantly limited access to food;
(iv)
any information, if available, about the ability of the anticipated or existing electronic benefit transfer equipment and service provider of the applicant to provide sufficient information through the electronic benefit transfer system to minimize the risk of fraudulent transactions; and
(v)
the business integrity and reputation of the applicant.
(C)
Certificate.—
Approval of an applicant shall be evidenced by the issuance to such applicant of a nontransferable certificate of approval.
(D)
Visit required.—
No retail food store or wholesale food concern of a type determined by the Secretary, based on factors that include size, location, and type of items sold, shall be approved to be authorized or reauthorized for participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program unless an authorized employee of the Department of Agriculture, a designee of the Secretary, or, if practicable, an official of the State or local government designated by the Secretary has visited the store or concern for the purpose of determining whether the store or concern should be approved or reauthorized, as appropriate.
(2)
The Secretary shall issue regulations providing for—
(A)
the periodic reauthorization of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns; and
(B)
periodic notice to participating retail food stores and wholesale food concerns of the definitions of “retail food store”, “staple foods”, “eligible foods”, and “perishable foods”.
(3)
Authorization periods.—
The Secretary shall establish specific time periods during which authorization to accept and redeem benefits shall be valid under the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
(4)
Electronic benefit transfer equipment and service providers.—
Before implementing clause (iv) of paragraph (1)(B), the Secretary shall issue guidance for retail food stores on how to select electronic benefit transfer equipment and service providers that are able to meet the requirements of that clause.
(b)
Effective and efficient operation of program; effect of disqualification; posting of bond
(1)
No wholesale food concern may be authorized to accept and redeem benefits unless the Secretary determines that its participation is required for the effective and efficient operation of the supplemental nutrition assistance program. No co-located wholesale-retail food concern may be authorized to accept and redeem benefits as a retail food store, unless (A) the concern does a substantial level of retail food business, or (B) the Secretary determines that failure to authorize such a food concern as a retail food store would cause hardship to households that receive supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits. In addition, no firm may be authorized to accept and redeem benefits as both a retail food store and as a wholesale food concern at the same time.
(2)
(A)
A buyer or transferee (other than a bona fide buyer or transferee) of a retail food store or wholesale food concern that has been disqualified under section 2021(a) of this title may not accept or redeem benefits until the Secretary receives full payment of any penalty imposed on such store or concern.
(B)
A buyer or transferee may not, as a result of the sale or transfer of such store or concern, be required to furnish a bond under section 2021(d) of this title.
(c)
Information submitted by applicants; safeguards; disclosure to and use by State agencies
(d)
Hearing upon failure of applicant to receive approval; waiting period for new application
(e)
Reporting of abuses by public
(f)
Limitation on participation of house-to-house trade routes
(g)
EBT service requirement
(h)
Private establishments
(1)
In general
(2)
Existing contracts
(A)
In general
(B)
Justification
(3)
Report to Congress
(i)
Review of program operations
(1)
Review by the Secretary
The Secretary—
(A)
shall review a representative sample of currently authorized facilities referred to in section 2012(k)(3) of this title to determine whether benefits are properly used by or on behalf of participating households residing in such facilities and whether such facilities are using more than 1 source of Federal or State funding to meet the food needs of residents;
(B)
may carry out similar reviews for currently participating residential drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation programs, and group living arrangements for the blind and disabled, referred to in section 2012(k) of this title;
(C)
shall gather information, and such facilities, programs, and arrangements shall be required to submit information deemed necessary for a full and thorough review; and
(D)
shall report the results of these reviews to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate not later than 18 months after December 20, 2018, along with recommendations regarding—
(i)
any additional requirements or oversight that would be appropriate for such facilities, programs, and arrangements; and
(ii)
whether such facilities, programs, and arrangements should continue to be authorized to participate in the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
(2)
Limitation
(j)
Incentives
(1)
Definition of eligible incentive food
In this subsection, the term “eligible incentive food” means—
(A)
a staple food that is identified for increased consumption, consistent with the most recent dietary recommendations; and
(B)
a fruit, vegetable, dairy, whole grain, or product thereof.
(2)
Guidance
(A)
In general
(B)
Guidance
The guidance under subparagraph (A) shall establish a process under which an approved retail food store, prior to carrying out an incentive program under this subsection, shall provide to the Secretary information describing the incentive program, including—
(i)
the types of incentives that will be offered;
(ii)
the types of foods that will be incentivized for purchase; and
(iii)
an explanation of how the incentive program intends to support meeting dietary intake goals.
(3)
No limitation on benefits
(4)
Effect
(5)
Report
(Pub. L. 88–525, § 9, Aug. 31, 1964, 78 Stat. 705; Pub. L. 95–113, title XIII, § 1301, Sept. 29, 1977, 91 Stat. 968; Pub. L. 97–98, title XIII, §§ 1313, 1314, Dec. 22, 1981, 95 Stat. 1285; Pub. L. 97–253, title I, § 165, Sept. 8, 1982, 96 Stat. 779; Pub. L. 99–198, title XV, §§ 1521, 1532(b), Dec. 23, 1985, 99 Stat. 1579, 1583; Pub. L. 99–570, title XI, § 11002(d), Oct. 27, 1986, 100 Stat. 3207–168; Pub. L. 101–624, title XVII, §§ 1733, 1734, Nov. 28, 1990, 104 Stat. 3791; Pub. L. 102–237, title IX, § 941(4), Dec. 13, 1991, 105 Stat. 1892; Pub. L. 103–225, title II, §§ 202, 203, Mar. 25, 1994, 108 Stat. 108; Pub. L. 103–448, title II, § 204(w)(2)(A), Nov. 2, 1994, 108 Stat. 4746; Pub. L. 104–193, title VIII, §§ 831–834, Aug. 22, 1996, 110 Stat. 2328; Pub. L. 110–234, title IV, §§ 4001(b), 4002(a)(5), 4115(b)(6), May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1092, 1093, 1106; Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title IV, §§ 4001(b), 4002(a)(5), 4115(b)(6), June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 1853, 1854, 1868; Pub. L. 113–79, title IV, §§ 4002(e), 4014(b), 4030(f), Feb. 7, 2014, 128 Stat. 784, 794, 814; Pub. L. 115–334, title IV, §§ 4006(f)–4008, Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4637–4639; Pub. L. 116–94, div. B, title VII, § 784, Dec. 20, 2019, 133 Stat. 2656; Pub. L. 116–260, div. A, title VII, § 783, Dec. 27, 2020, 134 Stat. 1230; Pub. L. 117–103, div. A, title VII, § 773, Mar. 15, 2022, 136 Stat. 99.)
cite as: 7 USC 2018