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WIC Infant Formula Vendor Exchanges Waiver

Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy memo (113.89 KB)
DATE:May 24, 2022
SUBJECT:Request for Additional WIC Flexibility in Response to the Impact of the
Ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic on Nationwide
Infant Formula Supply Chain Issues and 2022 Abbott Recall – Vendor
TO:All FNS Regional Offices
All WIC State Agencies

This letter is in response to correspondence from WIC state agencies requesting program flexibility from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Federal requirements as a result of the impact of the ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the 2022 Abbott recall of certain powder infant formula and exempt infant formula on the nationwide supply chain leading to both periodic location- and product-based WIC infant formula and exempt infant formula shortages.

Applicable WIC state agencies individually requested waivers of the federal requirement that prohibits WIC authorized vendors from providing exchanges of products purchased with WIC benefits. This waiver helps allow WIC participants to be treated like all other customers during the 2022 Abbott recall of certain powder infant formula and exempt infant formula. Pursuant to the authority granted under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 USC 5121-5207), USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approves this waiver request for state agencies listed in the attachment through the earlier of either Sept. 30, 2022 or the expiration date of the major disaster declaration in the affected area.

This waiver is only applicable to regulations at:

  • 7 CFR 246.12(h)(3)(ii), which prohibits WIC authorized vendors from permitting exchanges for authorized supplemental foods obtained with food instruments beyond exchanges for an identical (exact brand and size) food item.

As this requirement must be included in the state agency’s vendor agreements per 7 CFR 246.12(h)(3), WIC state agencies should work with their legal counsel to determine whether additional action is needed at the state level to waive this requirement. This waiver only applies to items being exchanged under the 2022 Abbott recall of certain powder infant formula and exempt infant formula during COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. Unless a state agency has additional active FNS waivers, all other federal WIC requirements must be met.

USDA FNS appreciates WIC state agencies’ commitment to quickly responding to the COVID-19 related nationwide supply chain issues that have been exacerbated by this recall.

Associate Administrator
Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs

List of state agencies that have been granted this waiver

Granted May 24, 2022

  • Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians WIC
  • Pleasant Point Health Center WIC

Granted May 23, 2022

  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians WIC

Granted May 18, 2022

  • Santee Sioux Nation WIC

Granted March 23, 2022

  • Muscogee Creek Nation WIC

Granted March 8, 2022

  • Northern Arapaho WIC

Granted March 3, 2022

  • Alabama WIC

Granted March 1, 2022

  • North Carolina WIC

Granted Feb. 28, 2022

  • Arkansas WIC

Granted Feb. 25, 2022

  • Citizen Potawatomi Nation WIC
  • Colorado WIC
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Oklahoma WIC
  • New York WIC
  • Wichita, Caddo, and Delaware Tribes WIC

Granted Feb. 24, 2022

  • Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council WIC
  • Florida WIC
  • Georgia WIC
  • Mississippi WIC
  • South Carolina WIC

Granted Feb. 23, 2022

  • Chickasaw Nation WIC
  • Ohio WIC
  • Otoe Missouria WIC
  • Three Affiliated Tribes WIC
  • Ute Mountain Ute Tribe WIC
  • Winnebago Tribe WIC

Granted Feb. 22, 2022

  • Arizona WIC
  • California WIC
  • Indiana WIC
  • New Jersey WIC
  • New Mexico WIC
  • Oklahoma WIC
  • Omaha Nation WIC
  • Puerto Rico WIC
  • Rosebud Sioux Tribe WIC

Granted Feb. 21, 2022

  • Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma WIC
  • Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma WIC
  • Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc. WIC
  • Louisiana WIC
  • Maine WIC
  • Navajo Nation WIC
  • Osage Nation WIC
  • Pueblo of Isleta WIC
  • Texas WIC
  • Utah WIC
  • Washington WIC
  • Pueblo of Zuni WIC

Granted Feb. 20, 2022

  • Alaska WIC
  • American Samoa WIC
  • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands WIC
  • Connecticut WIC
  • Delaware WIC
  • District of Columbia WIC
  • Guam WIC
  • Hawaii WIC
  • Idaho WIC
  • Iowa WIC
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona WIC
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada WIC
  • Kansas WIC
  • Kentucky WIC
  • Maryland WIC
  • Massachusetts WIC
  • Michigan WIC
  • Minnesota WIC
  • Missouri WIC
  • Montana WIC
  • Nebraska WIC
  • Nevada WIC
  • New Hampshire WIC
  • North Dakota WIC
  • Oregon WIC
  • Pennsylvania WIC
  • Rhode Island WIC
  • South Dakota WIC
  • Standing Rock Sioux Tribe WIC
  • Tennessee WIC
  • U.S. Virgin Islands WIC
  • Vermont WIC
  • Virginia WIC
  • West Virginia WIC
  • Wisconsin WIC
  • Wyoming WIC
Page updated: February 27, 2024