IFPA Welcomes USDA’s Updates to WIC Nutrition Program

The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) expressed satisfaction with the USDA’s WIC nutrition program updates, which facilitates millions of families’ access to fruits and vegetables.

Updates to USDA’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children will finalize previously announced proposed changes. These modifications offer more flexibility to tailor food packages to personal and cultural food preferences and special dietary needs. In addition, the updates permanently increase the number of fruits and vegetables participants have enjoyed since 2021.

Cathy Burns - IFPA CEO
Cathy Burns, CEO of IFPA.

They are aligned with recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.

“These updates to WIC will be instrumental in improving nutrition security among some of our nation’s most vulnerable populations,” said IFPA CEO Cathy Burns. “IFPA members across the supply chain look forward to an implementation of the food package that will allow for continued access to nutritious foods, including the full variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available at retail.”

Related Article: Healthier Foods with A Focus on Taste

The WIC food packages are prescribed foods and beverages specifically designed to supplement the foods and beverages participants already consume and fill in key nutritional gaps to support healthy growth and development.

The Biden-Harris Administration secured over $7 billion in critical funding to provide nearly seven million pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children with the critical nutritional assistance they need.

IFPA identified four notable additions to WIC food packages:

  • It allows participants to substitute their juice allotment for an additional $3.00 in CVB.
  • Infants aged 6-11 months can receive CVB instead of half or all of the jarred infant food allotment. ($10/month for half and $20/month for the full allotment).
  • Allows fresh herbs to be purchased with the CVB.
  • Allows fresh-cut fruit and vegetable party trays without dressings and dips to be purchased with the CVB.
  • Codifies that white potatoes are allowed (this has been true for some time, but now it’s clearly documented.)
Mollie Van Lieu, IFPA Vice President for Nutrition and Health Policy.

The WIC program benefits millions of women and children in every community across the country at a time when many lack access to healthy food and nearly half of American children already do not eat a daily vegetable.

“IFPA has long advocated for the importance of a science-based approach in WIC, and today’s announcement delivers on that work,” said IFPA Vice President for Nutrition and Health Policy Mollie Van Lieu. “We already know that WIC works at addressing health outcomes, and the final food package will do even more to boost the general healthfulness of the WIC program and benefit the women and children it serves.”