|DATE:||March 3, 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 – Medical Documentation for Infants in Food Packages III|
|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.
Applicable WIC state agencies individually requested waivers of WIC regulations at 7 CFR 246.10(d)(1), specifically the medical documentation requirements as applied to Food Package III. These state agencies cite the requirement to obtain medical documentation for Food Package III presents an undue barrier on participants and request a waiver of medical documentation as outlined in 7 CFR 246.10(d).
Food Package III is reserved for issuance to WIC participants who have a documented qualifying condition that requires the use of a WIC formula (infant formula, exempt infant formula or WIC-eligible nutritional) because the use of conventional foods is precluded, restricted, or inadequate to address their special nutritional needs. Participants who are eligible to receive this food package have one or more qualifying conditions, as determined by a health care professional licensed to write medical prescriptions under state law.
USDA FNS does not approve waiving medical documentation requirements for Food Package III due to the nature of the health conditions of participants who are issued supplemental foods under Food Package III. Close medical supervision is essential for each participant’s dietary management. Medical documentation ensures the supplemental foods issued are appropriate for the qualifying conditions of the participant to address their assessed nutritional needs. WIC regulations offer sufficient flexibility to obtain and provide the required medical documentation remotely should it be necessary.
USDA FNS appreciates WIC state agencies’ commitment to quickly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2022 Abbott recall of certain powder infant formula and exempt infant formula.
Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs