Take Action: Submit Public Comment on WIC Food Package Rule
Last Monday, USDA began accepting public comments on the proposed rule to update the WIC food package, kicking off a 90-day review period that will run through February 21, 2023. The evidence-based proposal incorporates many of the recommendations made by an independent review panel of the National Academies of Sciences in 2017, enhancing the value of the food package for participants while targeting key under-consumed nutrients. Proposed changes include making the recent increase in WIC’s fruits and vegetable benefit permanent, increasing flexibility in package size and substitutions, introducing seafood across child and adult food packages, and incorporating new cultural options and enhancing cereal standards to boost whole grain intake. NWA held a webinar last week, with slides that highlight the key changes in each food category.
All members of the WIC community—including WIC staff, participants, and community partners—are strongly encouraged to submit a public comment and have your voice heard. NWA has launched a comment platform to support your efforts, including simple template language and additional resources detailing the proposed changes. Please share this platform widely with your networks and note that providing public comment on federal regulations is not considered a lobbying activity. If you have any questions or need support in crafting your comment, please reach out to Noora Kanfash: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of Congress Return to DC for End-of-Year Crunch
This week, lawmakers will return to Washington, DC to begin the final stretch of legislative work for this Congress. Government funding is set to expire on December 16 and Congressional leaders have indicated that they are working to reach a bipartisan full-year omnibus spending deal. This package also provides a vehicle to advance a number of important WIC priorities, including an extension of the fruit and vegetable benefit bump through September 2023. Additionally, key lawmakers are engaged in ongoing work to finalize a slimmed-down Child Nutrition Reauthorization package to be attached to the omnibus, which could include expansions in eligibility for postpartum women and young children, modernizations to certification procedures and physical presence requirements, and new supports for breastfeeding families. NWA is working closely with leaders on the Hill and a broad coalition of child nutrition stakeholders to advance these important reforms. Take action here.