Does not meet Category A + B

Understanding EBT, SNAP, FNS reauthorization requirements for...

What is FNS reauthorization?

FNS reauthorization ensures that current SNAP retailers are maintaining ample inventory to meet the needs of SNAP recipients. This includes re-checking eligibility every 5 years. For reauthorization, your store must either meet the staple food inventory requirement or the staple food sales requirement.

Why was my store deauthorized for category A + B?

If your store fails to meet FNS requirements, this can result in involuntary withdrawal from the program. Some reasons for involuntary withdraw due to not meeting category A and B might include:

  • Not keeping proper stock of staple foods in each of the 4 categories
  • Not meeting staple food sales requirements
  • Not submitting required documentation
  • Not stocking the appropriate number of perishable items

In the event your store is denied, you do have the right to appeal that decision.

Keep reading for a full overview of EBT stocking requirements to help you fully understand category A + B so you can get back on track.

A Store Owner's Guide to stocking requirements for FNS reauthorization

This resource will help existing SNAP retailers understand the FNS stocking criteria required to continue to accept EBT at their stores. To ensure SNAP recipients have ample access to staple foods, the Food and Nutrition Services requires that SNAP retailers stock a specific selection of items.

How to Meet Stocking Requirments
for SNAP Eligibility

According to the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), SNAP
authorized stores must meet one of two staple food requirements:

Criterion A

staple food inventory

Criterion B

staple food sales

Criterion A

Most convenience stores, small grocers and other retailers are authorized under Criterion A.
Under Criterion A, a store must have 3 stocking units of 3 different varieties for each of
the 4 staple food categories on a continuous basis.

(3×3) × 4 = 36

This is a total of 36 foods that must
be stocked at any given time.

1 in 2

There must be 1 perishable item
in 2 of the staple food categories.


What might this look like for your store?

+ fruits

  • 3x 100%
    orange juice
  • 3x 100%
    apple juice
  • 3x 100%
    fresh bananas


  • 3x milk
  • 3x yogurt
  • 3x formula

Breads +

  • 3x loaf of
  • 3x pasta
  • 3x bagels

Meat + poultry
+ fish

  • 3x canned
    tuna fish
  • 3x beef
  • 3x fresh / liquid

What are staple foods?

Staple foods are the basic food that make up a significant portion of a person’s diet
and do not include prepared foods, heated foods or accessory foods (food items
that complement meals). Staple foods can be divided into four categories:

Vegetables or fruits

Dairy products

Meat, poultry or fish

Breads or cereals

What food items really qualify for
SNAP or food stamps as staple foods?

There are a number of foods that you already stock or could easily add to your shelves that will satisfy the stocking requirement. Foods like apples, oranges and potatoes qualify in the vegetable or fruit category, but so do applesauce, orange juice and frozen tater tots.

Stocking perishable items in two categories may be one of the more challenging requirements for retailers, but there are many items that qualify as perishable that you likely already have in your store.

Click on each image below to see examples of FNS-approved foods
for each staple category.
Items with an asterisk (*) are perishable.

+ fruits

Vegetables + fruits

  • Potatoes*
  • Frozen tater tots*
  • 100% orange juice*
  • Fresh Oranges*
  • Canned
    tomato soup
  • Dried apples
  • Pre-cut apple
  • Fresh bananas*
  • Pre-cut and bagged romaine lettuce*
  • Canned
    pineapple rings


Dairy Products

  • Fresh deli
    sliced cheese*
  • Packaged grated
    parmesan cheese
  • Whole milk*
  • Refigerated
    almond milk*
  • Shelf-stable
    almond milk*
  • Fresh salted butter*
  • Margarine*
  • Fresh whole milk
    vanilla yogurt*

Breads +

Breads + Cereals

  • A loaf of
    multigrain bread*
  • Dried pasta
  • Corn or
    flour tortillas*
  • Plain bagels*
  • Rice- or
    oat-based cereal
  • Frozen dinner rolls*
  • Hot dog buns*
  • A bag of rice
  • Whole wheat pita*

Meat +
Poultry + Fish

Meat + Poultry + Fish

  • Fresh deli-sliced
  • Fresh
    chicken cutlets*
  • Frozen chicken
  • Fresh
    groud beef*
  • Beef jerky
  • Canned albacore
    tuna fish
  • Fresh
    sliced ham*
  • Fresh
    chicken eggs*

Download the USDA SNAP Staple Foods Guide

This FNS document provides the USDA’s definitions of staple foods and
includes additional information regarding foods that are NOT covered by
SNAP, such as prepared foods, heated foods, or accessory foods.
One of our friendly representatives would be happy to assist you.

Criterion B

Under Criterion B, a store must have more than 50% of its total gross retail sales
from the sale of staple foods. Most convenience stores do not fit under this
model, as specialty stores are more commonly authorized under Criterion B.

Criterion B Calculation + Requirements

Total Gross
Retail Sales

(Gasoline, Lottery, Alcohol, Tobacco, Other Non-food)

Prepared / Heated
Food Sales
Food Sales
Food Sales


We are here to help!

If you would like assistance, call 855.826.0920 and one of our government payments experts would be happy to support you personally and walk you through the FNS reauthorization process from start to finish, or fill out the form below and we will contact you.

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Whether you are a single-store or multistore owner, you will receive excellent customer service from our team of payment experts.


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If you would like to learn more about goEBT’s unlimited EBT processing service or how goEBT’s EBT NOW program could help you through the FNS reauthorization process, please call 855.826.0920 or select contact us below.
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