NEW! Actions leading up to the 2022 Proposed Rule: Revisions to the WIC Food Packages
Review of the WIC Food Packages by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, 2014-17
As required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (PL 111-296), FNS conducted a scientific review of the WIC food packages. In 2014, FNS contracted with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM, and formerly the Institute of Medicine) to conduct a comprehensive review of the WIC food packages. NASEM’s task was two-fold:
- Review and assess the nutritional status and food and nutritional needs of the WIC-eligible population and the impact of the 2009 Food Package on nutrient intake and indicators of diet quality.
- Make specific food package recommendations based on the most recent and available science or evidence.
The overall goal was to make recommendations that are practical, economical, reflect current nutritional science, and allow the program to effectively meet the nutritional and cultural needs of the WIC-participating population. The committee produced three reports as part of this task.
- The Evaluation of White Potatoes in the Cash Value Voucher: Letter Report recommended allowing white potatoes for purchase with the cash value voucher/benefit (CVV/B).
- The Proposed Framework for Revisions: Interim Report presented evidence, analyses, and framework that was applied to develop the final report, which included recommendations for potential modifications to WIC food packages.
- The Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and Choice: Final Report presented the committee’s its final analyses, recommendations, and the supporting rationale.
Since NASEM released its 2017 report, updated guidance, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), 2020-2025 and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2021 joint Advice about Eating Fish, provided updated recommendations for those who are pregnant and lactating as well as infants, and children under age 2 years.
Per the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2022 (PL 117-103), WIC state agencies are required to issue increased fruit and vegetable CVV/B amounts in FY 2022 as recommended by the NASEM at $24 for child participants, $43 for pregnant and postpartum participants, and $47 for fully and partially breastfeeding participants through the end of FY 2022 (Sept. 30, 2022). The Act did not impact CVV/B amounts for infants.
WIC regulations at 7 CFR 246.16 require that the monthly value of the fruit and vegetable CVV/B be adjusted annually for inflation. The CVV/B amounts increased in FY 2023 to $25 for child participants, $44 for pregnant and postpartum participants, and $49 for fully and partially breastfeeding participants.
WIC: Revisions in the WIC Food Packages – 2014 Final Rule
A final rule revising the food packages was published on March 4, 2014. This rule completed the implementation of the first comprehensive revisions to the WIC food packages since 1980.
The revisions were designed to improve the nutrition and health of the nation’s low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children by providing more healthy choices to meet their needs during critical periods of growth and development. The modifications in the final rule reflect the experiences of WIC state agencies in implementing the 2007 interim rule, while continuing to fulfill the intent of the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, now known as NASEM, that served as the basis for the WIC food package changes. The final rule modifications included yogurt as a partial substitute for milk and more whole grain and fish options for women and children as well as additional fruits and vegetables for children.
WIC: Revisions in the WIC Food Packages - Interim Rule
The interim rule, published in the Federal Register on Dec. 6, 2007, revised the WIC food packages. The revisions aligned the WIC food packages with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005-2010 and infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The interim rule revisions largely reflected recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies in its report, "WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change," with certain cost containment and administrative modifications found necessary by the Department to ensure cost neutrality. All WIC state agencies were required to implement the revisions by Oct. 1, 2009. An interim rule allowed FNS to obtain feedback on the major changes as recommended by IOM while allowing implementation to move forward. On Dec. 31, 2009 an amendment to the interim rule increased the amount of cash value vouchers from $8.00 to $10.00 issued to pregnant, postpartum and partially breastfeeding women participants for the purchase of fruits and vegetables as part of the WIC food packages.
WIC: Revisions in the WIC Food Packages - Proposed Rule
The proposed rule, published Aug. 7, 2006, proposed new regulations governing the WIC food packages to align the WIC food packages with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005-2010 and current infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, better promoted and supported the establishment of successful long-term breastfeeding, provided WIC participants with a wider variety of food, provided WIC state agencies with greater flexibility in prescribing food packages to accommodate participants with cultural food preferences, and served participants with certain qualifying conditions under one food package to facilitate efficient management of medically fragile participants. The revisions largely reflected recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies in its Report “WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change,” with certain cost containment and administrative modifications found necessary by the Department to ensure cost neutrality.
National Academies’ Institute of Medicine Released Report Recommending Revisions to the WIC Food Packages
The Institute of Medicine's final report of its review of the WIC food packages, WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change, was released to the public on April 27, 2005. In September 2003, FNS contracted with the IOM to independently review the WIC food packages. FNS charged IOM with recommending specific cost-neutral changes to WIC food packages based on scientific information about the nutrition needs of WIC participants. An initial report, released August 2004, described nutrient needs for the WIC target population, and criteria for new food packages. The final report offered specific recommendations for food package changes. The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 required that the Department issue a final rule within 18 months of receiving the Committee’s report. The Department reviewed the IOM recommendations closely in order to develop this rule.
Review of the WIC Food Packages by the Institute of Medicine
In September 2003, a contract was awarded to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM), through the Food and Nutrition Board, to independently review the WIC food packages in a 22-month study. Under this contract, IOM selected a Committee of experts in nutrition, health, risk assessment, and economics to conduct this study in two phases. In Phase I, the Committee used current scientific information to review the nutritional requirements and assess the supplemental nutrition needs of the population served by WIC. Based on this assessment, IOM recommended in phase II cost-neutral changes in WIC food items or amounts that better addressed the nutritional needs of the WIC eligible population.
On Aug. 19, 2004, the Committee released its Phase I preliminary report, "Proposed criteria for Selecting the WIC Food Packages." The preliminary report listed priority nutrients and food groups that the Committee considered in making its recommendations regarding specific foods. The report also proposed criteria that the Committee used to select the WIC food packages. Using the priority nutrients/food groups and criteria proposed in this preliminary report, IOM prepared a final report with cost-neutral recommendations for specific foods. IOM held two public meetings in Los Angeles, California, and Washington, DC, in the summer of 2004, to hear oral comments on proposed changes in the WIC food packages and also accepted written comments until Nov. 1, 2004.
Revisions to the WIC Food Packages - Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
On Sept. 15, 2003, FNS published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comments on revisions to the food packages offered through the WIC Program. The 90-day comment period ended Dec. 15, 2003. In this ANPRM, the Department solicited public comments on redesigning the food packages offered through the WIC Program to determine if the WIC food packages should be revised to better improve the nutritional intake, health and development of participants and, if so, what specific changes should be made to the food packages. The Department enlisted independent technical experts via the Institute of Medicine’s Food and Nutrition Board to review available science and comments submitted in response to this ANPRM, and to develop recommendations on revising the WIC food packages for the Department’s consideration. The Department used comments received through the ANPRM and the IOM recommendations to develop a proposed rule to revise the WIC food packages.