|DATE:||April 7, 2021|
|MEMO CODE:||WIC Policy Memorandum #2021-6|
|SUBJECT:||Data Requests from Infant Formula Manufacturers|
Special Nutrition Programs
|WIC State Agency Directors
All State Agencies
Recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) received questions about how state agencies administering the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC program) should respond to data requests from infant formula manufacturers that hold infant formula rebate contracts with the state agency. The purpose of this memorandum is to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the federal regulatory requirements related to the disclosure of confidential WIC vendor and participant information.
All information sharing between WIC state agencies and infant formula manufacturers must comply with federal regulations and should comply with each individual infant formula rebate contract. State agencies should work with their procurement offices and legal counsel to ensure that any information provided is in compliance with federal and contractual requirements.
WIC regulations at 7 CFR 246.26(e) require WIC state agencies to restrict the use and disclosure of confidential vendor information to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of the WIC program or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) whom the state agency determines have a need to know the information for WIC program purposes. Additionally, WIC regulations at 7 CFR 246.26(d)(1)(ii) require state agencies to restrict the use and disclosure of confidential applicant and participant information to persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of the WIC program whom the state agency determines have a need to know the information for WIC program purposes.
FNS does not consider representatives from infant formula manufacturers to be persons directly connected with the administration or enforcement of the WIC program. Therefore, WIC state agencies must not disclose confidential applicant, participant, or vendor information to infant formula manufacturers.
This includes questions related to vendor identification numbers (“Vendor IDs”) and participant identification numbers (“participant IDs”), as well as “pseudo” and partial vendor or participant IDs. For the purpose of this memorandum, a partial ID is a segment or portion of an original ID and a “pseudo” ID is a randomly assigned or other identifier that is different from the original ID.
WIC regulations at 7 CFR 246.26(e) define confidential vendor information as any information about a vendor, regardless of source, that individually identifies the vendor, with the exception of only the vendor’s name, address, telephone number, website/e-mail address, store type, and authorization status. Therefore, vendor identification numbers (“vendor IDs”), as well as “pseudo” and partial Vendor IDs, are confidential vendor information.
Additionally, WIC regulations at 7 CFR 246.26(d)(1)(i) define confidential applicant and participant information as information that individually identifies an applicant or participant and/or family members, regardless of the source. If participant IDs, as well as “pseudo” or partial participant IDs, contain personally identifiable information (PII) such as social security numbers, then they are confidential information. If the combination of participant IDs, as well as “pseudo” and partial participant IDs, and other requested information could allow for the identification of people, then the information is considered confidential. However, participant IDs, and “pseudo” or partial participant IDs, on their own are not considered confidential unless they meet the criteria outlined above.
WIC state agencies may refer any questions to FNS regional office staff.
Supplemental Food Programs Division