WIC program expands fruits and vegetables offerings

The federal assistance program is expanding.

A federal food assistance program is expanding funding for fruits and vegetables to offer wider choices of foods from different cultures. 

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is making a permanent increase in monthly cash vouchers for fruits and vegetables. 


The backstory: WIC provides federal grants to states for supplemental foods, healthcare referrals and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding and non-breastfeeding postpartum women. 

  • It also helps infants and children up to the age of five who are found to be at nutritional risk. 
  • WIC upped its monthly cash vouchers for fruits and vegetables during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The big picture: Along with the boost in fruits and vegetables options, other enhancements include expanding whole grain options, providing more dairy options – including requiring lactose-free milk to be available – including canned fish in more food packages, requiring canned beans to be offered and adding more flexibility in the amount of infant formula provided. 

  • The voucher piece will take effect by June 2024. 
  • Under the new rules, fruits and vegetable vouchers in 2024 will increase to $26 per month for kids ages 1 through 4, $47 per month for pregnant and postpartum women, and $52 for breastfeeding women. 
  • The WIC program served an average of about 6.6 million low-income Americans per month in 2023 at a cost of a little more than $7 billion

What they’re saying: “WIC has a half-century track record of caring for young families. USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are committed to ensuring that moms, babies and young children continue to thrive through WIC,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. “These participant-centered changes will strengthen WIC by ensuring the foods participants receive reflect the latest nutrition science to support healthy eating and the brightest futures.”

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