Yum Brands Says It Won’t Expand Food Stamp Use at KFC, Taco Bell

Yum! Brands Inc., owner of the KFC and Taco Bell fast-food chains, will end a campaign to increase the use of food stamps at its U.S. restaurants because of opposition from the government.

Yum is ceasing efforts to allow low-income Americans to use food-stamp benefits at its stores after the U.S. Department of Agriculture voiced its opposition, the Louisville, Kentucky-based company said today. Bloomberg Businessweek reported earlier this week that Yum had lobbied state officials in Ohio, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Florida, urging them to allow food stamps to be used at its eateries.

“After discussions with program administrators and key legislators, we have decided not to further pursue the expansion of the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program’s (SNAP) Restaurant Meals Program to enable homeless, elderly and the disabled people to access restaurant foods with their SNAP benefits,” Paul Carothers, vice president of government affairs, said in an e-mailed statement.

“We understand there was little support for this initiative,” he said.

The USDA has said it doesn’t support expanding food-stamp usage at restaurants.

The program, which is federally funded and administered by individual state governments, “should promote access to healthy foods,” Kevin Concannon, the under secretary for food, nutrition and consumer Services, said in an interview earlier this month.

Yum, which also operates the Pizza Hut chain, has more than 38,000 locations worldwide.

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