Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)) , with the USDA, has announced a new rule that will expand flexibilities under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.
“WIC reaches over 6 million mothers, infants, and children — and is a vital tool in our work to end hunger in the United States,” said DeLauro. “It is evidence- and science-based, and delivers life sustaining outcomes for moms and babies. The rule announced today will build on the National Strategy released at the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and offer more choice and flexibility to program participants.
“I am especially proud that it extends the increases in the cash value voucher, which we established in the pandemic response bills and which I maintained through our government funding bills as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee. I thank my friend (USDA) Secretary Vilsack for his work to produce this rule that will move forward our work to end hunger.”
The rule proposed by USDA today would support the purchasing of healthier foods, like fruits and vegetables, by increasing the amount provided and the varieties available for purchase. Congress implemented a significant boost to the benefit provided to WIC participants for purchasing fruits and vegetables under pandemic relief packages, and Chair DeLauro has maintained these increases in her government funding bills.
Other proposed changes include, but are not limited to:
- Proposing revisions that give participants a greater variety of fruits and vegetables to choose from;
- Expanding whole grain options to include foods like quinoa, blue cornmeal, and teff to reflect dietary guidance and accommodate individual or cultural preferences;
- Providing more non-dairy substitution options such as soy-based yogurts and cheeses – and requiring lactose-free milk to be offered;
- Including canned fish in more food packages, creating more equitable access to this under-consumed food;
- Requiring canned beans to be offered in addition to dried; and
- Adding more flexibility in the amount of formula provided to partially breastfed infants to support individual breastfeeding goals.
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