New WIC Rules Include More Money for Fruits and Vegetables; Less for Juice

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has finalized updates to the foods prescribed to participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly referred to as WIC.

Under the new rules, beginning later this year, fruits and vegetable vouchers will provide $26 per month for kids ages 1 through 4; $47 per month for pregnant and postpartum women; and $52 for breastfeeding women. The changes also expand access to whole grains like quinoa, wild rice and millet.

They also remove or reduce monthly allowances for juice and cut back on allowances for milk.

Other enhancements include, but are not limited to:

  • Providing more convenience and options within the dairy category, including flexibility on package sizes and non-dairy substitution options such as plant-based yogurts and cheeses and requiring lactose-free milk to be available.
  • Including canned fish in more food packages, creating more equitable access to this under-consumed food.
  • Requiring canned beans to be offered in addition to dried.
  • Adding more flexibility in the amount of infant formula provided to partially breastfed infants to support moms’ individual breastfeeding goals.

The new WIC rules make permanent a bump in monthly cash vouchers for fruits and vegetables — something first enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is the first rule change for the program in over 10 years.

In 2023, the WIC program served an average of about 6.6 million low-income Americans a month at a cost of a little more than $7 billion.

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