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More produce, less dairy for low-income families under US nutrition program changes

Banana stall in grocery store

Reuters reports on a recent update by the USDA to the WIC program, expanding access to fruits, vegetables, and seafood while reducing allowances for dairy, juice and cheese, in alignment with modern dietary science, marking the first revision since 2014.


A recent article from Reuters details a change to a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) federal nutrition program that helps nearly 7 million low-income women and children access more fruits and vegetables but less dairy. The USDA claims the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has been updated to better align with modern dietary science. The program provides participants the ability to purchase food based on dietary needs. The new provisioning increases allowances for fruits, vegetables and seafood whilst decreasing allowances for juice, dairy and cheese. Allowances were raised after the pandemic from $9 monthly for children and $11 for mothers to $26 a month for children, $47 for pregnant and postpartum women and $52 for breastfeeding mothers. The amount of milk provided will decrease to four gallons for fully breastfeeding women (about 15 litres), from a monthly maximum of six gallons and to 3.5 gallons for children ages 2 to 4 from four gallons and to three gallons for toddlers from four gallons. Several other non-dairy options are allowed including plant-based and lactose-free milk. Reuters states this is the first update to the program since 2014. 

Read more here and see our explainer Meat, metrics and mindsets: Exploring debates on the role of livestock and alternatives in diets and farming and our podcast series "Meat: the four futures"

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