Proposed rule would ease standards for retailers that accept SNAP

The Department of Agriculture issued a proposed rule Friday that would ease the standards for how many and what types of products food retailers must stock in order to accept SNAP benefits at their stores. An Obama-era rule had expanded the amount of healthy foods that retailers had to stock in order to participate in the program.

Rural poverty rate drops twice as fast as U.S. average, still high

Rural incomes are up and the rural poverty rate is down, dropping twice as fast as the U.S. average, said the Census Bureau on Wednesday in its annual report on income and poverty.

Food insecurity rates continue to fall, USDA report finds

National food insecurity continued to decline in 2017, according to a new report from the Department of Agriculture, and now affects 11.8 percent of U.S. households, down from 12.3 percent in 2016.

New report finds rate of ‘food hardship’ has risen since 2016

A new report from the Food Research and Action Center found that the food hardship rate for households across the country has increased from 15.1 percent in 2016 to 15.7 percent in 2017. The rate increase was higher for households with children, from 17.5 percent to 18.4 percent. The study comes as wages remain stagnant, despite falling unemployment.

USDA predicts decline in global food insecurity in annual report

The Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service in June released its annual International Food Security Assessment (IFSA), an outlook for global food security for the coming decade. The report estimated that global food security would improve over the coming 10 years, with a decline in the number of food-insecure people from 782 million in 2018 to 446 million in 2028.

Public nutrition program in Puerto Rico gets $1.27-billion boost

Puerto Rico's version of the food stamp program temporarily will cover more households and provide larger benefits to participants as it recovers from hurricane damage, said the USDA. The maximum benefit for a family of four will rise to $649 as a result of a $1.27 billion line item in the government funding bill passed by Congress earlier this month.

Immigrants cautious of food assistance in Trump era, experts say

Undocumented immigrants have become cautious of seeking food aid in the Trump era because of fears they could be targeted for deportation, said a panel of food security experts last week in San Francisco.

Hunger rates in 52 countries are high despite global progress

Global hunger levels are down by 27 percent since 2000 yet they remain at "serious," "alarming" or "extremely alarming" levels in 52 countries, said the think tank International Food Policy Research Institute in releasing its Global Hunger Index. Beyond the immediate impact of food shortages and climate change, "long-term obstacles to reducing hunger in several countries may also be threatening efforts to reach zero hunger," said IFPRI.

Ethiopian drought kills livestock, ramping up need for food aid

Nearly one-fifth of Ethiopia is in need of food aid, as a punishing drought kills off livestock in areas where people — especially pregnant women and children — rely on milk for nutrition, Reuters says.