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Donation of Unused, Returned Infant Formula

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
WIC Policy Memorandum #2020-1
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (166.13 KB)
DATE: December 12, 2019
MEMO CODE: WIC Policy Memorandum #2020-1
SUBJECT: Donation of Unused, Returned Infant Formula
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regional Offices
WIC State Agency
All WIC State Agencies

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recommends WIC clinics dispose of unused, returned WIC infant formula in accordance with state and local health and safety laws. FNS does not recommend donating unused, returned WIC infant formula to entities such as food banks or food pantries.

This approach ensures safety. Unused, returned infant formula may have been inappropriately stored (e.g., exposed to extremely high temperatures), may be past its use-by-date, or subjected to tampering (e.g., labels or use-by dates changed). Some of these conditions can cause products to lose nutrients, impact the product’s safety, and potentially threaten the health of recipients.

WIC state agencies are encouraged to develop policies and procedures for their local agencies. State agencies are strongly encouraged to consult with their health department and, as needed with legal counsel for issues related to state-procured rebate contracts, local and state health laws, and clinic documentation recommendations, when developing such policies and procedures.

State agencies should also work with local agencies to educate participants on how to utilize food instruments to prevent having unused formula, and how to handle unused formula (e.g., disposal).

State agencies may direct any questions to their respective FNS regional office.

Sarah Widor
Supplemental Food Programs Division

Page updated: November 18, 2021

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.