America’s families do not need government in their grocery carts telling them what they can and cannot serve their families. This includes families who have fallen on tough times. A recent article from the Knoxville News Sentinel looks at ill-considered legislation to restrict certain aisles in the grocery store to SNAP recipients.

The legislation is proposed in the name of “public health” but does not recognize that SNAP restrictions are a misguided policy that does not address the complex problem of obesity. Rather, they are discriminatory and single out one item in the grocery cart for consumption by one segment of the population. Research shows that obesity is shared across all income levels and is not caused by any single food or beverage. Focusing on one source of calories is not a solution to obesity.

Families who are struggling to make ends meet should not be discriminated against because they need temporary help affording their groceries. People using SNAP benefits make the same food-buying decisions we all do; they don’t need government telling them which aisles they are allowed to go down and what to serve their families at home.

Allowing government to designate groceries as “good” and “bad” would create a food code more complicated and arbitrary than the IRS tax code. That would put us on a path of government intrusion into many decisions that have always been left to families to decide.