More retailers say yes to food stamps

ByABC News
July 28, 2009, 10:38 PM

— -- More retailers are accepting food stamps, as a record number of consumers are turning to government aid to pay for groceries.

To accept the debit-card-like EBT cards, stores must meet at least one of the following conditions:

They regularly sell at least three varieties of foods in each of four categories breads/cereals; dairy products; fruits and vegetables; and meat, fish or poultry and at least two of the categories must include perishable foods.

Or more than half of total gross sales must be in "staple foods," which means no candy, soft drinks or prepared foods.

Last month, Target extended its acceptance of EBT benefits from its Super Target and other stores with expanded food selections to all 1,700 stores. Costco this month started testing its checkout technology at six New York City locations to prepare for EBT acceptance. Joe Portera, executive vice president and COO of Costco's Eastern and Canadian divisions, says Costco members began asking to use EBT cards in the last six months.

"This is the right thing to do," says Portera. "We'll ultimately need to expand the program to our other stores, so right now, we're working out any bugs in the system."