US More produce, less dairy for low-income families

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



(Reuters) -Nearly 7 million low-income women and children will be able to purchase more fruits and vegetables but less dairy after the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized changes to a key federal nutrition program on Tuesday.

The updates to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the first since 2014, were made to better align the program's food packages with the best dietary science, USDA said.

WIC participants receive benefits to purchase certain food items depending on age and dietary needs. The USDA proposed changes to the program in November 2022 and received over 17,000 comments, it said.

The final provision increases allowances for fruits, vegetables, and seafood, and decreases the amounts of juice, dairy and cheese. It also adds more non-dairy options like plant-based and lactose-free milk.

"The National WIC Association applauds USDA for adhering to an independent, science-based review process that led to these stronger standards, and we urge swift implementation," said Georgia Machell, interim president and CEO of the group, in a statement.