Regulatory Watch

Major change to WIC program includes fresh foods, whole grains and yogurt

USDA has finalized changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, better known as WIC. Among the changes is a new emphasis on fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy. It’s the first major revision to the program since 1980.

“The updates to the WIC food package make pivotal improvements to the program and better meet the diverse nutritional needs of mothers and their young children,” says Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Parents of older infants will now be able to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables instead of jarred infant food, if they so choose. The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) applauded the addition of yogurt to the WIC shopping list as a partial milk substitute.

“A pilot study conducted by IDFA member General Mills and several other organizations has shown adding yogurt to the WIC program can help increase dairy consumption and improve nutrient intake among participants,” says Clay Hough, IDFA senior group vice president.

 WIC is a $4.5 billion program providing low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women; infants; and children up to age five with nutritious, supplemental foods. 

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