CFA's Position on WIC
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) has promoted the health of low-income families for more than 35 years by providing nutrition education, supplemental food and other valuable services. WIC is one of the largest nutrition programs in the United States, reaching approximately 9 million participants every year, and is an important investment in supporting our nation's health.
The USDA released the final rule to revise the WIC food packages in February 2014. The new rule largely reflects recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies in its report, "WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change."
While the final rule mandates that states must offer fresh fruits and vegetables to participants, it is at the discretion of each state whether to offer canned or frozen fruits and vegetables and canned beans. Surprisingly, only 26 state WIC programs allow participants to purchase canned fruits and vegetables with the cash value voucher for fruits and vegetables and only 34 states include canned beans with no restrictions in their WIC food packages for all women and children.
At a time when Americans need nutritious, convenient and affordable food options most, the Canned Food Alliance (CFA) believes that all women and children participating in WIC deserve access to canned food. Even the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that all forms (canned, fresh, frozen and dried) of fruits, vegetables and beans should be promoted to help Americans meet dietary goals and increase their intake of essential shortfall vitamins and nutrients, such as fiber, potassium, iron, folate and magnesium. WIC participants should be permitted to select the form of food that best meets their lifestyle and family preferences.
State WIC leaders play a critical role in determining what supplemental food items will be included in state-specific food packages. The CFA offers information to assist WIC leaders in their efforts to provide moms and kids with healthy and nutritious canned food that meet new WIC food package requirements.
We stand ready to work with you to provide WIC participants with convenient, affordable and nutritious options to help them select healthy foods that best meet their lifestyle and family preferences.