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NMPF Opposes Proposal to Reduce Dairy Offerings in WIC Program

February 6, 2017

NMPF pushed back against a proposal last month from the National Academies of Science (NAS) to reduce the amount of dairy foods offered through the federal assistance WIC program. In criticizing the recommendation, NMPF noted that dairy – an irreplaceable source of nutrition for Americans – is already widely under-consumed among WIC recipients.

Congress requested that the NAS review the WIC food offerings to provide support for aligning the WIC basket with those foods recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  NMPF noted that milk, cheese and yogurt are “the No. 1 source of nine essential nutrients in children’s diets: protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B12, D and riboflavin.

The reason dairy foods are included in the WIC package is that no other food source can deliver such a wide range of vital nutrients to mothers and young children. Cutting back on dairy is a step in the wrong direction,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of NMPF, who noted that milk has always been central to the WIC program’s goal of providing low-income participants with foods and nutrients they typically under-consume.

The NAS report did contain some pro-dairy provisions, such as that yogurt should be easier for women obtain through the WIC program. The NAS recommendations will now be reviewed by USDA.  NMPF will work with the International Dairy Foods Association to highlight the value to all Americans of dairy foods.