Rick Perry celebrates Iowa ice cream, reminding us of food fact checks

Rick Perry went to Le Mars (Iowa, that is) where he paused May 18, 2015, to pose for this tweeted photo (@GovernorPerry on Twitter).
Rick Perry went to Le Mars (Iowa, that is) where he paused May 18, 2015, to pose for this tweeted photo (@GovernorPerry on Twitter).

Prospective presidential hopeful Rick Perry tweeted a photo celebrating an Iowa town's claim to ice cream history.

Some saw this as traitorous to Texas, the state Perry governor'd for more than a decade where Blue Bell has been in trouble of late. Maybe Perry just likes ice cream pix.

His stop just made us wonder how often PolitiFact gets to check food-related claims.

A sampling:

--In 2009, PolitiFact in Washington, D.C., confirmed Barack Obama once worked in an ice cream store. Obama had worked for various private companies, from Baskin-Robbins to Business International Corporation. He worked at law firms. He was a telemarketer. He worked construction. He sold island trinkets in Hawaii. Back to the ice cream part; in 1975 or 1976, Obama had written he had a Honolulu job as a Baskin-Robbins ice cream scooper, where he also claimed to have lost his taste for ice cream.

--In 2011, PolitiFact found False a claim by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann that due to Obama, barbecue prices had shot up. "If you threw a barbecue yesterday for the Memorial weekend," Bachmann said in June 2011, "it was 29 percent more expensive than last year because Barack Obama's policies have led to groceries going up 29 percent." Put out that fire: Her figure came from a New York Post article that relied on prices in the expensive New York metro area; Nationally, the spike was less, about 10 percent. Meantime, experts advised Obama and his policies had little, if any, impact on food prices.

--In March 2014, a Georgia state representative, Greg Morris, said: "You can buy lobster with food stamps." True. A Fox News video showed a person receiving those federal benefits who bought lobster.

--And finally (come on, it's a sample!), this April actress Gwyneth Paltrow shared a photo of her groceries in a tweet, writing, "This is what $29 gets you at the grocery store—what families on SNAP (i.e. food stamps) have to live on for a week."

paltrow1.jpg

PolitiFact saw flaws in her statement, which was rated Mostly False.

The government's food stamp program, or SNAP, is not intended to feed families by itself. It is designed to help people with low incomes meet a government-approved budget for food by providing a benefit that helps them get there, sometimes in conjunction with other sources of meals, such as school food programs, and financial support. That is, the government expects SNAP beneficiaries to spend 30 percent of their own income on food. That expectation is what makes the $29 a week figure look so low.

A single person with no income could receive about $48 a week in SNAP benefits (65 percent more than Paltrow stated) and would not factor in other types of government support.

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