Food packages for participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) should include a variety of dairy products, IDFA told an Institute of Medicine (IOM) Committee in comments filed this week. WIC food packages currently include milk, yogurt and cheese, and these items should continue to be included in a variety of flavors, milkfat levels and container sizes. The comments relate to the committee’s work to review and make recommendations about the foods and beverages that should be included in food packages made available to WIC infants, children and women.
The comments highlighted the nutrient profiles of dairy foods, particularly calcium, vitamin D and potassium, which were identified as nutrients of concern in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report. It also underscored the fact that nearly all Americans, including women and many children, are currently underconsuming dairy products, missing out on these important nutrients.
IDFA urged the committee to recommend the inclusion of a variety of dairy products, including milk, yogurt and cheese, so that WIC participants can select products that are available in their stores, convenient and well-liked.
A recent change in the WIC program to restrict women and children aged two and older to fat-free and lowfat milk only may have resulted in fewer redemptions for milk and lower milk consumption. IDFA recommended that women should be able to request reduced fat milk for themselves and their children, in order to ensure that participants are able to select their preferred variety of milk.
The WIC food package review is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, following up on a previous review 10 years ago, and will take into account the recently implemented changes to the food packages, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and input from public comments. While the committee’s final recommendations will not make any immediate changes to the WIC program, they could be used by USDA as the basis for any future updates to WIC.
Interested members can find the comments here. Members with additional questions may contact Michelle Matto, IDFA’s consultant on nutrition, at email@example.com.