Soon, all currently and formerly-authorized Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), retailers – back to 2005 – will receive an announcement – either by email, text or by phone call – informing them that in 12 calendar days, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will release their yearly retail SNAP sales data.
By way of background, Argus Leader Media brought a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit against USDA, seeking retail sales data on SNAP. On November 30, 2016, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota issued a ruling in favor of the plaintiff, Argus Leader Media (Argus). This means that the Court requires USDA to release SNAP retailer redemption data to the public. USDA decided not to appeal the Argus decision and to comply with the Court ruling.
Here is the USDA message retailers will receive:
This is an important message from the USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).
You are being contacted because you are a current or former SNAP authorized retailer, who participated between 2005 and the present, and FNS received a request for records that will disclose each of your store’s individual annual SNAP sales amounts. This information will be released promptly (i.e., approximately 12 calendar days from this notice) to the public as the result of a court order. More information on this release can be found on our website at www.fns.usda.gov/snap-retailer-data.