Changes made last year to the federal feeding program for women, infants and children may be inadvertently reducing total fluid milk consumption among program participants. That’s the message the Milk Industry Foundation delivered last Friday to the Institute of Medicine during the public comment session following the IOM workshop “Methods and Approaches to the Assessment of WIC Food Packages.”
Speaking on behalf of MIF, Michelle Matto, IDFA’s consultant on nutrition and labeling issues, noted that reduced-fat milk is the preferred choice among minority households, according to consumption patterns. But the U.S. Department of Agriculture changed the WIC final rule last year to allow only low-fat or nonfat milk unless a nutrition assessment documented a need for reduced-fat milk.
Matto stated that recent market data shows that USDA’s action has contributed to lower reduced-fat milk consumption without a compensating increase in low-fat and nonfat milk consumption. She stressed that all varieties of milk contain the same essential package of nutrients.
IOM’s 2005 report “WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change” stated explicitly that “For women and children 2 years and older, milk and yogurt must be fat-reduced (no more than 2% milk fat).” MIF supports this guidance, along with nutrition education to choose low-fat and nonfat milk.
“The federal nutrition programs, including WIC, should be doing everything possible to encourage a lifetime of milk consumption,” Matto said. She urged the committee to maintain the 2005 recommendations to encourage milk consumption and reverse its decline among women and children in the program.
Read the oral comments here.
For more information, contact Matto at firstname.lastname@example.org