This bill cites statistics that in North Carolina over 65 percent of adults and 31 percent of children are considered overweight or obese leading to rapidly growing medical expenses to treat obesity-related disease. The bill states many residents in rural communities do not have access to full-service grocery stores that provide nutritious foods. The purpose of this bill is to provide funding and assistance to food retailers to increase the availability of nutrient dense food.
The fund would be created as a restrictive reserve in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
The Department would be responsible for developing guidelines and establishing accountability measures, however, the funds could only be used:
- for a public health department to purchase refrigeration equipment, and display shelving for nutrient dense food;
- for a small food retailer to offset initial expenses related to participating in food desert relief efforts not to exceed $100;
- to cover salaries and costs of employees to assist in nutrition education, business operations and promotion of nutrient dense food inventories
The retailer would be required to enter into an agreement with the State and one public health department.