Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

WIC Food Packages - Regulatory Requirements for WIC-Eligible Foods

Last Modified: 09/05/2014

 

The following list provides the Federal requirements for WIC-eligible foods. USDA requirements for WIC-eligible foods can be found in 7 CFR Part 246.10. To view the final rule Federal regulation on the WIC food requirements go to http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/WICRegulations.pdf and scroll to 246.10 – Supplemental Foods. WIC State agencies must use these requirements when authorizing foods on the State WIC food list. However, State agencies do not have to authorize all foods that meet WIC-eligibility requirements.

 

The following WIC foods must also comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Standards of Identity: infant formula, exempt infant formula, milks, cheese, fruit and vegetable juices, shell eggs, canned/frozen fruits and vegetables, whole wheat bread, canned fish, and peanut butter. Standards of identity define what a given food product is, its name, and the ingredients that must be used, or may be used in the manufacture of the food. To view the Standards of Identity for these foods, visit the FDA web site at http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/cfrsearch.cfm

 

State agencies are required to authorize container sizes that provide the full maximum monthly allowance of foods without exceeding the maximum.

Breakfast Cereal

Infant Cereal

Infant Food Fruits & Vegetables

Infant Food Meat

Infant Formula

Exempt Infant Formula

Milk

Cheese

Tofu

Soy-Based Beverage

Mature Legumes

Peanut Butter

Fruits & Vegetables

Canned Fish

Whole Wheat Bread and Other Whole Grains

Juice

Eggs

WIC-eligible Nutritionals

Yogurt

         

Types of Cereal

  • Ready-to-eat (e.g., corn flakes, bran flakes)
  • Instant and regular hot cereals (e.g., oatmeal, grits, cream of wheat)

 

Requirements

  • Must contain a minimum of 28 milligrams of Iron per 100 grams of dry cereal (e.g., iron = 45% U.S. RDA for adults per 1 ounce dry cereal).
  • Must contain no more than 21.2 grams of sucrose and other sugars per 100 grams of dry cereal (i.e., not more than 6 grams of sucrose and other sugars per 1 dry ounce).
  • At least one half of the total number of breakfast cereals on a State agency’s authorized food list must have whole grain as the primary ingredient by weight AND meet FDA labeling requirements for making a health claim* as a "whole grain food with moderate fat content."

 

 *Note: Manufacturers can refer to the health claim notice at http://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/labelingnutrition/ucm073634.htm

 

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Types of Whole Wheat Bread/Whole Grain Bread/Other Whole Grains

  • Whole wheat bread, buns and rolls
  • Whole grain bread, buns and rolls
  • Other whole grains, i.e., brown rice, bulgur, oatmeal, and whole-grain barley without added sugars, fats, oils, or salt (e.g., sodium). May be instant-, quick-, or regular-cooking.
  • Soft corn or whole wheat tortillas. (Corn tortillas made from ground masa flour (corn flour) using traditional processing methods are allowed. Examples of primary ingredients meeting the WIC-eligibility criteria include:    whole corn, corn (masa), whole ground corn, corn masa flour, masa harina, and white corn flour.)
  • Whole wheat macaroni products

Requirements

  • Whole wheat bread must conform to FDA standard of identity at 21 CFR Part 136.180. “Whole wheat flour”          and/or “bromated whole wheat flour” must be the only flours listed in the ingredient list.
  • Whole grain bread must conform to FDA standard of identity (21 CFR 136.110) (includes whole grain buns and rolls), AND whole grain must be the primary ingredient by weight in all whole grain bread products AND must meet FDA labeling requirements for making a health claim* as a "whole grain food with moderate fat content”.
  •  

 *Note: Manufacturers should refer to the full health claim notice at http://www.fda.gov/food/ingredientspackaginglabeling/labelingnutrition/ucm073634.htm

 

  • Whole wheat macaroni products must conform to FDA standard of identity (21 CFR 139.138) and have no added sugars, fats, oils, or salt (i.e., sodium). ‘‘Whole wheat flour’’ and/or ‘‘whole durum wheat flour’’ must be the only flours listed in the ingredient list. Other shapes and sizes that otherwise meet the FDA standard of identity for whole wheat macaroni (pasta) products (21 CFR 139.138), and have no added sugars, fats, oils, or salt (i.e., sodium), are also authorized (e.g., whole wheat rotini and whole wheat penne).

 

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Types of Juice

  • Any fruit and/or vegetable juice or juice blends (e.g., orange, grapefruit, apple, grape, pineapple, tomato, cran-apple)
  • Fresh
  • Single-strength
  • From concentrate
  • Frozen
  • Canned
  • Shelf-stable

 

Requirements*

  • 100% unsweetened pasteurized fruit and/or vegetable juice.
  • Fruit juice must conform to FDA standard identity at 21 CFR Part 146.
  • Vegetable juice must conform to FDA standard of identity at 21 CFR Part 156.
  • Minimum of 30 milligrams of Vitamin C per 100 milliliters of juice, or 72 milligrams of Vitamin C per 8-fluid ounces (e.g., Vitamin C = 90% U.S. RDA for women per 6 fluid ounces juice).
  • Vegetable juice may be regular or lower in sodium.

 

*Note: At the State agency's option, juice fortified with other nutrients may be allowed.

Not Allowed

  • Fruit drinks
  • Fruit-flavored ades
  • Sodas
  • Other beverages that are not 100% juice

 

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MILK

Types of Cow’s Milk*

  • Whole, reduced fat, low-fat, or nonfat
  • Cultured buttermilk
  • Evaporated, Dry: Calcium-fortified milk
  • Lactose-reduced and lactose-free milk
  • Acidified milk
  • Shelf stable
  • Flavored or unflavored

 

Requirements

  • Must conform to FDA standards of identity at 21 CFR Part 131.110, 21 CFR Part 131.111, 21 CFR Part 131.112, 21 CFR Part 131.127, 21 CFR Part 131.130 or 21 CFR Part 131.147.
  • Must be pasteurized.
  • Must contain 400 International Units of Vitamin D per quart (100 IU per cup).
  • Must contain 2000 International Units of Vitamin A** per quart (500 IU per cup) (reduced fat, low-fat or nonfat).

 

*Note: At the State agency’s option, other milks that meet the minimum requirements for authorized cow’s milk may be substituted, e.g., Keifer, Acidophilus. State agencies may also choose to authorize goat’s milk as a substitute for cow’s milk. WIC-authorized goat’s milk must meet the same requirements as cow’s milk.

**Note: Vitamin A is naturally found in the fat portion of milk, which is removed (all or partially) during the production of reduced-fat, low-fat, and fat-free milks. For this reason, Vitamin A fortification is required for these milks, but not whole milk. The nutrient requirement pertains to all authorized milks; for dried milk (i.e. powdered) and evaporated milk, vitamin requirements are per reconstituted quart.

 

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Types of Cheese*

  • Pasteurized Processed American
  • Brick
  • Natural Cheddar
  • Colby
  • Monterey Jack
  • Mozzarella: part skim or whole
  • Muenster
  • Provolone
  • Swiss

 

*Note: Blends of approved cheeses, e.g., CoJack, are authorized.

Requirements

  • Must conform to FDA standard of identity at 21 CFR Part 133.
  • Must be domestic cheese made from 100% pasteurized milk.
  • Cheeses that are labeled low, free, reduced, less or light in sodium, fat or cholesterol are allowed.

 

Not Allowed

  • Cheese foods or spreads
  • Imported cheeses

 

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YOGURT

Requirements

 

  • Must be pasteurized and conform to FDA standard of identity (21 CFR 131.200), low-fat (21 CFR 131.203) or non-fat (21 CFR 131.206).
  • Must contain no more than 40 g of total sugars per 1 cup yogurt.
  • May be plain or flavored.
  • Yogurts fortified with vitamin A and other nutrients are allowed at the SA’s option. 

 

Not Allowed

 

  • Yogurts sold with accompanying mix-in ingredients such as granola, candy pieces, honey, nuts and similar          ingredients.
  • Drinkable yogurts.

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TOFU

Requirements

  • Calcium-set tofu prepared with calcium salts (e.g., calcium sulfate), but may also contain other coagulants (i.e., magnesium chloride).
  • May not contain added fats, sugars, oils or sodium.

 

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Requirements

 

  • Must be fortified to meet the following nutrient levels: 276 mg calcium per cup, 8 g protein per cup, 500 IU vitamin A per cup, 100 IU vitamin D per cup, 24 mg magnesium per cup, 222 mg phosphorus per cup, 349 mg potassium per cup, 0.44 mg riboflavin per cup, and 1.1 mcg vitamin B12 per cup, in accordance with    fortification guidelines issued by FDA.
  • May be flavored or unflavored.

 

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EGGS

Types of Eggs/Requirements

  • Fresh shell Domestic hen’s eggs*: any size, white or brown shells.
  • Dried egg mix: must conform to FDA standard of identity at 21 CFR Part 160.105.
  • Pasteurized liquid whole eggs: must conform to FDA standard at 21 CFR Part 160.115.

 

*Note: Hard boiled eggs may be issued to homeless participants at the State agency’s discretion.

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MATURE LEGUMES (Dry Beans and Peas) (Via WIC Food Instrument)

Types of Mature Legumes

Any type of mature dry beans, peas, or lentils in dry-packaged or canned* forms. Examples include but are not limited to black beans, black-eyed peas , garbanzo beans (chickpeas), great northern beans, white beans (navy and pea beans), kidney beans, mature lima beans ("butter beans"), fava and mung beans, pinto beans, soybeans, split peas, lentils and refried beans.

*Note: "Canned" refers to processed food items in cans or other shelf-stable containers, (e.g., jars, pouches).

Requirements

  • May not contain added sugars*, fats, oils or meat as purchased.
  • Canned legumes may be regular or lower in sodium.

 

*Note: Small amounts of sugar are added to some foods that are naturally sugar-containing during the canning process to prevent stress resulting in membrane rupture (e.g., kidney beans). This small amount of added sugar is minimal and helps to maintain the quality and structure of the food. To encourage greater variety in food choices in the WIC food packages, canned legumes that contain a small amount of sugar for processing purposes, such as plain canned kidney beans, are allowed.

Not Allowed

  • Soups
  • Immature varieties of legumes, such as those used in canned green peas, green beans, snap beans, yellow        beans, and wax beans.
  • Baked beans with meat (e.g., beans and franks).

 

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Types of Peanut Butter

  • Creamy or chunky, regular or reduced fat, salted or unsalted

 

Requirements

  • Must conform to FDA standard of identity at 21 CFR Part 164.150.

 

Not Allowed

  • Peanut Spreads
  • Peanut butter with added jelly, honey, chocolate, marshmallow or other mixtures

 

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FRUITS and VEGETABLES, FRESH AND PROCESSED* (Via Cash-Value Vouchers)

Types/Requirements of Fruits and Vegetables

Note: States must offer WIC-eligible fresh fruits and vegetables AND must allow organic forms of these items; canned, frozen, and/or dried fruits and vegetables are offered at the State agency's option.

Fruits

  • Any variety of fresh (as defined by 21 CFR 101.95) whole or cut fruit without added sugars.
  • Any variety of canned** fruits, including applesauce, juice pack or water pack without added sugars, fats, oils,    or salt (i.e. sodium).
    • Canned fruit must conform to FDA standard of identity (21 CFR Part 145), as appropriate.
  • Any variety of frozen fruits without added sugars, fast, oils, or salts (i.e., sodium).
  • Any type of dried fruits or dried vegetable without added sugars, fats, oils, or salt (i.e., sodium).

 

Vegetables

  • Any variety of fresh (as defined by 21 CFR 101.95) whole or cut vegetable, except white potatoes, without added sugars, fats, or oils (orange yams and sweet potatoes are allowed).
  • Any variety of canned* or frozen vegetables except white potatoes (orange yams and sweet potatoes are allowed); without added sugars***, fats, or oils. May be regular or lower in sodium.
    • Canned vegetables must conform to FDA standard of identity at 21 CFR Part 155.
  • Any type of immature beans, peas, or lentils, fresh or in canned forms.
  • Any type of frozen beans (immature or mature). Beans purchased with the CVV may contain added vegetables   and fruits, but may not contain added sugars, fats, oils, or meat as purchased. Canned beans, peas, or lentils   may be regular or lower in sodium.

 

*Note: “Processed” refers to frozen, canned, dried or “other processed” (e.g., chemically preserved with added ascorbic acid).

**Note: “Canned” refers to processed food items in cans or other shelf-stable containers (e.g., jars, pouches).

***Note: Small amounts of sugar are added to some foods that are naturally sugar-containing during the canning process to prevent stress resulting in membrane rupture (i.e. sweet peas). This small amount of added sugar is minimal and helps to maintain the quality and structure of the food. To encourage greater variety in food choices in the WIC food packages, canned vegetables that contain a small amount of sugar for processing purposes, such as plain canned sweet peas and corn, are allowed.

Not Allowed

  • White potatoes
  • Catsup or other condiments
  • Pickled or breaded vegetables
  • Olives
  • Juices*
  • Soups
  • Herbs or spices
  • Edible blossoms and flowers e.g., squash blossoms (broccoli, cauliflower and artichokes are allowed)
  • Creamed or sauced vegetables
  • Mixed vegetables containing noodles, nuts or sauce packets, vegetable-grain (pasta or rice) mixtures
  • Fruit-nut mixtures
  • Fruits and vegetables for purchase on salad bars
  • Peanuts or other nuts
  • Ornamental and decorative fruits and vegetables such as chili peppers on a string; garlic on a string; gourds;      painted pumpkins; fruit baskets and party vegetable trays; decorative blossoms and flowers
  • Foods containing fruit, such as blueberry muffins and other baked goods
  • Mature legumes* (dry beans and peas) in dry-packed or canned forms
  • Fruit leathers and fruit roll-ups

 

*Note: Juice and mature legumes (dry beans and peas) in dry-packed or canned forms are provided as separate food WIC categories and are not authorized under the fruit and vegetable category.

 

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Types of Canned* Fish

Canned only:

  • Light tuna, as defined by FDA in 21 CFR Part 161.190
  • Salmon, as defined by FDA in 21 CFR Part 161.170
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel (ONLY N. Atlantic Scoumber scombrus, Chub Pacific Scomber japonicas, or Jack Mackerel)

 

Requirements**

  • May be packed in water or oil.
  • Pack may include bones or skin.
  • May be regular or lower in sodium content.

 

*Note: Canned refers to processed food items in cans or other shelf-stable containers, (e.g., jars, pouches).

**Note: At the State agency's option, flavorings such as lemon or herbs are allowable.

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INFANT FOODS

Types of Cereal

  • Any plain, dry infant cereal (e.g., rice, barley, mixed grain)

 

Requirements

  • Minimum of 45 milligrams of Iron per 100 grams of dry cereal.

 

Not Allowed

 

  • Infant cereal with added infant formula, milk, fruit, or other non-cereal ingredients.

 

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Types/Requirements of Infant Fruits and Vegetables

  • Any variety of single ingredient commercial infant food fruit without added sugars, starches, or salt (e.g., sodium). Texture may range from strained through diced. The fruit must be listed as the first ingredient.
  • Any variety of single ingredient commercial infant food vegetables without added sugars, starches, or salt (e.g., sodium). Texture may range from strained through diced. The vegetable must be listed as the first   ingredient.
  • Combinations of single ingredients (e.g., peas-carrots and apple-banana) are allowed.

 

Not Allowed

 

  • Mixtures with cereal or infant food desserts (e.g., peach cobbler).

 

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Types/Requirements of Infant Meat

  • Any variety of commercial infant food meat or poultry, as a single major ingredient, with added broth or gravy.   Texture may range from pureed through diced.

 

Not Allowed

 

  • Added sugars or salt (e.g., sodium).
  • Infant food combinations (e.g., meat and vegetables) or dinners (e.g., spaghetti and meatballs).

 

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Types of Infant Formula

  • Concentrated liquid
  • Powdered
  • Ready-to-feed (RTF)

 

Requirements

  • Complies with the definition in section 201(z) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321(z))        and meets the requirements for an infant formula under section 412 of the Federal Food, Drug Act (21 U.S.C.    350a) and regulations at 21 CFR Parts 106 and 107.
  • Nutritionally complete infant formula not requiring the addition of any ingredients other than water prior to          being served in a liquid state.
  • Be designed for enteral digestion via an oral or tube feeding.
  • Provide at least 10 mg iron per liter (at least 1.5 mg iron/100 kilocalories) at standard dilution.
  • Provide at least 67 kilocalories per 100 milliliters (approximately 20 kilocalories per fluid ounce) at standard        dilution.

 

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Types of Infant Formula

  • Concentrated liquid
  • Powdered
  • Ready-to-feed (RTF)

 

Requirements (Medical documentation required for issuance)

  • Complies with the definition and requirements for an exempt infant formula in section 412(h) of the Federal         Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 350a(h)) and regulations at 21 CFR Parts 106 and 107.
  • Be designed for enteral digestion via an oral or tube feeding.

 

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Types of Nutritionals

  • Concentrated liquid
  • Powdered
  • Ready-to-feed (RTF) or ready-to use (RTU)

 

Requirements (Medical documentation required for issuance)

 

  • Intended for use as an oral feeding and may not be a conventional food; formulas administered through a          nasogastric tube may be substituted.
  • Must serve the purpose of a food, meal or diet (may be nutritionally complete or incomplete) and provide a        source of calories and one or more nutrients (may be nutritionally complete or incomplete).

 

Not Allowed

 

  • Formulas used solely for the purpose of enhancing nutrient intake or managing body weight addressing picky      eaters or used for a condition other than a qualifying condition (e.g., vitamin pills, weight control products)
  • Medicines or drugs
  • Hyperalimentation feedings (nourishment administered through a vein)
  • Enzymes, herbs, or botanicals
  • Oral rehydration fluids or electrolyte solutions
  • Flavoring or thickening agents
  • Feeding utensils or devices (e.g., feeding tubes, bags, pumps) designed to administer a WIC-eligible formula
  • Sports or breakfast drinks

 

Maximum monthly allowances of WIC supplemental foods in the new WIC food packages

 

Questions and Answers regarding the WIC Food Packages

[Is the PDF the same as this link: http://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/questions-and-answers-about-wic-food-packages]

 

Information for Manufacturers

 

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