You can buy a wide variety of food and food related products with food stamps and EBT cards. These foods include prepackaged foods, breads, dairy products, certain bottled beverages, ice, meats, vegetables, fish, poultry and more. You can also purchase seeds in certain states for growing approved food in your garden. The majority of food items in a grocery store are eligible for purchase with food stamps and EBT cards but there are a few groups of items that are excluded from this list.
Excluded food items:
-Hot foods are not eligible for purchase with food stamps or EBT cards. This does not mean that you can’t purchase cold or frozen food for hot preparation at home, rather it means that food that is already prepared and hot to serve cannot be purchased.
– Food meant to be consumed in the grocery store. Some grocery stores may have food available to eat in store, but meals such as these cannot be paid for with stamps or EBT cards. This restriction generally extends to restaurants as well unless specifically specified by the food stamp program and restaurant.
– Pet foods. These are food products not designated for human consumption and therefore are excluded from the list of allowable food items.
Other Excluded Items sold in food store:
-Alcohol. Beer, wine, and liquor cannot be paid for with food stamps or EBT cards.
-Tobacco products. No tobacco products can be bought under a food stamp program including cigarettes , chewing tobacco, cigars, or smoking products.
– Non-food items. This list is obviously expansive and includes personal hygiene products, home products, cleaning products, toys, and basically anything that cannot be consumed as food.
-Vitamins and supplements. This category is debated as whether it should be included under items allowed for purchase with food stamps and EBT cards. Currently however vitamins, minerals, and any supplements are excluded from the food stamp program.
As you can see food stamps and EBT cards can pretty much be used to purchase any consumable food products for use at home. The items listed and the exclusion list in this article is accurate as of January 2009. Keep in mind that even if an excluded product is mixed in with groceries that are eligible for food stamp purchase, most registers are programmed to exclude certain items from being charged to the stamps or card. For additional changes to the food stamp and EBT programs, you should refer to your state’s food stamp program office.