NMPF, IDFA Push for WIC Fix to Flawed Proposal That Potentially Limits Dairy

Representing dairy farmers, cooperatives, and processors, NMPF and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) issued a joint statement Nov. 17 responding to proposed USDA changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) released that day.

“It is unfortunate for WIC participants that the proposed rule would decrease access to dairy products and the unique nutrient profile they provide, especially considering the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) note that a staggering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. population does not consume enough dairy to meet dietary recommendations,” the groups said in their statement. “At a time of rising food costs and high food insecurity, we should focus on increasing access to a wide variety of healthful, nutrient-dense, and affordable foods, including both fresh produce and dairy products. It’s disappointing that the proposed rule would limit WIC family purchasing power for nutritious dairy foods, particularly at a time like this.

The dairy organizations commended USDA for expanding options for yogurt and cheese varieties and proposing WIC participants have wider purchase options and also lauded its support for nutritional equivalence in substitute products as recommended in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. That said, the overall plan fell short, NMPF and IDFA argued.

“IDFA, NMPF, and our members will advocate against reducing the amount of nutritious dairy foods provided through WIC in USDA’s final rule because we are committed to reducing food insecurity, malnutrition, and diet-related disease while improving health outcomes by making it easier for all Americans to access healthy, affordable foods, including nutritious dairy products. We hope USDA will work to achieve these same objectives.”