7 U.S.C. § 2018 : US Code - Section 2018: Approval of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns

Search 7 U.S.C. § 2018 : US Code - Section 2018: Approval of retail food stores and wholesale food concerns

    (a) Applications; qualifications; certificate of approval; periodic
      reauthorization
      (1) Regulations issued pursuant to this chapter shall provide for
    the submission of applications for approval by retail food stores
    and wholesale food concerns which desire to be authorized to accept
    and redeem benefits under the supplemental nutrition assistance
    program and for the approval of those applicants whose
    participation will effectuate the purposes of the supplemental
    nutrition assistance program. In determining the qualifications of
    applicants, there shall be considered among such other factors as
    may be appropriate, the following: (A) the nature and extent of the
    food business conducted by the applicant; (B) the volume of benefit
    transactions which may reasonably be expected to be conducted by
    the applicant food store or wholesale food concern; and (C) the
    business integrity and reputation of the applicant. Approval of an
    applicant shall be evidenced by the issuance to such applicant of a
    nontransferable certificate of approval. No retail food store or
    wholesale food concern of a type determined by the Secretary, based
    on factors that include size, location, and type of items sold,
    shall be approved to be authorized or reauthorized for
    participation in the supplemental nutrition assistance program
    unless an authorized employee of the Department of Agriculture, a
    designee of the Secretary, or, if practicable, an official of the
    State or local government designated by the Secretary has visited
    the store or concern for the purpose of determining whether the
    store or concern should be approved or reauthorized, as
    appropriate.
      (2) The Secretary shall issue regulations providing for - 
        (A) the periodic reauthorization of retail food stores and
      wholesale food concerns; and
        (B) periodic notice to participating retail food stores and
      wholesale food concerns of the definitions of "retail food
      store", "staple foods", "eligible foods", and "perishable foods".

      (3) Authorization periods. - The Secretary shall establish
    specific time periods during which authorization to accept and
    redeem benefits shall be valid under the supplemental nutrition
    assistance program.
    (b) Effective and efficient operation of program; effect of
      disqualification; posting of bond
      (1) No wholesale food concern may be authorized to accept and
    redeem benefits unless the Secretary determines that its
    participation is required for the effective and efficient operation
    of the supplemental nutrition assistance program. No co-located
    wholesale-retail food concern may be authorized to accept and
    redeem benefits as a retail food store, unless (A) the concern does
    a substantial level of retail food business, or (B) the Secretary
    determines that failure to authorize such a food concern as a
    retail food store would cause hardship to households that receive
    supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits. In addition, no
    firm may be authorized to accept and redeem benefits as both a
    retail food store and as a wholesale food concern at the same time.
      (2)(A) A buyer or transferee (other than a bona fide buyer or
    transferee) of a retail food store or wholesale food concern that
    has been disqualified under section 2021(a) of this title may not
    accept or redeem benefits until the Secretary receives full payment
    of any penalty imposed on such store or concern.
      (B) A buyer or transferee may not, as a result of the sale or
    transfer of such store or concern, be required to furnish a bond
    under section 2021(d) of this title.
    (c) Information submitted by applicants; safeguards; disclosure to
      and use by State agencies
      Regulations issued pursuant to this chapter shall require an
    applicant retail food store or wholesale food concern to submit
    information, which may include relevant income and sales tax filing
    documents, which will permit a determination to be made as to
    whether such applicant qualifies, or continues to qualify, for
    approval under the provisions of this chapter or the regulations
    issued pursuant to this chapter. The regulations may require retail
    food stores and wholesale food concerns to provide written
    authorization for the Secretary to verify all relevant tax filings
    with appropriate agencies and to obtain corroborating documentation
    from other sources so that the accuracy of information provided by
    the stores and concerns may be verified. Regulations issued
    pursuant to this chapter shall provide for safeguards which limit
    the use or disclosure of information obtained under the authority
    granted by this subsection to purposes directly connected with
    administration and enforcement of the provisions of this chapter or
    the regulations issued pursuant to this chapter, except that such
    information may be disclosed to and used by Federal law enforcement
    and investigative agencies and law enforcement and investigative
    agencies of a State government for the purposes of administering or
    enforcing this chapter or any other Federal or State law and the
    regulations issued under this chapter or such law, and State
    agencies that administer the special supplemental nutrition program
    for women, infants and children, authorized under section 17 of the
    Child Nutrition Act of 1966 [42 U.S.C. 1786], for purposes of
    administering the provisions of that Act [42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.]
    and the regulations issued under that Act. Any person who
    publishes, divulges, discloses, or makes known in any manner or to
    any extent not authorized by Federal law (including a regulation)
    any information obtained under this subsection shall be fined not
    more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 1 year, or both. The
    regulations shall establish the criteria to be used by the
    Secretary to determine whether the information is needed. The
    regulations shall not prohibit the audit and examination of such
    information by the Comptroller General of the United States
    authorized by any other provision of law.
    (d) Hearing upon failure of applicant to receive approval; waiting
      period for new application
      Any retail food store or wholesale food concern which has failed
    upon application to receive approval to participate in the
    supplemental nutrition assistance program may obtain a hearing on
    such refusal as provided in section 2023 of this title. A retail
    food store or wholesale food concern that is denied approval to
    accept and redeem benefits because the store or concern does not
    meet criteria for approval established by the Secretary may not,
    for at least 6 months, submit a new application to participate in
    the program. The Secretary may establish a longer time period under
    the preceding sentence, including permanent disqualification, that
    reflects the severity of the basis of the denial.
    (e) Reporting of abuses by public
      Approved retail food stores shall display a sign providing
    information on how persons may report abuses they have observed in
    the operation of the supplemental nutrition assistance program.
    (f) Limitation on participation of house-to-house trade routes
      In those areas in which the Secretary, in consultation with the
    Inspector General of the Department of Agriculture, finds evidence
    that the operation of house-to-house trade routes damages the
    program's integrity, the Secretary shall limit the participation of
    house-to-house trade routes to those routes that are reasonably
    necessary to provide adequate access to households.