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USDA Announces Exciting Updates To WIC Food Packages, Enhancing Choice For Participants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced significant updates to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages, marking a pivotal moment in the program’s history. These updates, rooted in independent, science-based research, reinforce WIC’s 50-year legacy of promoting positive maternal and child health outcomes for millions of participants nationwide.

As outlined in the National Strategy on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, USDA’s final rule incorporates several key enhancements to better align with the evidence-based Dietary Guidelines for Americans and independent recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine:

Culturally Appropriate Options Increased: The updated WIC food packages now offer a more comprehensive list of culturally appropriate food options, empowering participants to make choices that align with their cultural preferences and dietary needs.

More Choice and Flexibility: Participants will have increased choice and flexibility in selecting foods that best suit their preferences and nutritional requirements. The introduction of smaller package sizes and expanded substitution patterns enhances the shopping experience for WIC families.

Expanded Cash Value Benefit (CVB) Made Permanent: The enhanced Cash Value Benefit, which has helped participants purchase more fruits and vegetables in recent years, is now a permanent fixture of the WIC program. This development comes at a critical time, as rising food costs underscore the importance of increasing access to healthy foods.

Based on an Independent, Science-Based Process: USDA’s updates to the WIC food packages are grounded in an independent, science-based review process, which is the cornerstone of WIC’s public health success. These revisions build upon prior updates and are expected to yield similarly positive health outcomes for participants.

In a statement, the National WIC Association (NWA) expressed support for these science-based updates, emphasizing the importance of swift implementation to ensure WIC families can access additional healthy foods without delay.

“In a time of rising food insecurity and high food costs, increasing participants’ purchasing power for healthy foods is critical,” said Georgia Machell, NWA President & CEO. “The updates also provide participants with greater choice and flexibility, including a more comprehensive list of culturally appropriate food options, that will make it easier for participants to maximize their benefits.”

The USDA’s final rule reflects a collaborative effort to strengthen the WIC program and support the diverse needs of participants nationwide. These updates underscore the program’s longstanding commitment to providing healthy foods, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support to families nationwide.

For more information about the WIC program and the latest updates to the food packages, visit 406-228-3626.

About WIC

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. WIC was established in 1974 to provide nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding support, and healthcare referrals for eligible pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, as well as infants and children who have a health or nutrition need.

To assess eligibility or to find out more about WIC services, visit: or call 406-228-3626.


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