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Published by Patricia Dillon

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Published by: Patricia Dillon on Jan 13, 2011
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The new WIC food packages improve the health andnutritional quality of the foods in the program and inneighborhoods, increase participants’ choice and expandcultural food options by offering fruits, vegetables, andother new foods.The recommendations sent in the many comment letterson the proposed regulations helped USDA to strengthenthe regulations it issued on December 6, 2007 comparedto the prior proposal. Here is a summary of the rules forfruits and vegetables:
Fruits and Vegetables
Participating women will receive WIC vouchers for$8 for fruits and vegetables each month: childrenwill receive $6 in fruit and vegetable vouchers.
Exclusively breastfeeding women, a smallcategory of participants in WIC, will receive $10 infruit and vegetable vouchers each month.
For infants age 6 to 12 months, fruits andvegetables have been added in the form of 128ounces of baby food.
States can allow participants to choose freshbananas instead of prepared baby food on alimited basis. (Fresh bananas can only besubstituted for up to 16 ounces of prepared babyfood. The substitution rate is 1 pound of bananasfor 8 ounces of baby food.)
 Allowable Fruits and Vegetables
 All fruits and vegetables are allowed except whitepotatoes.
Fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetablesare allowed.
Organic fruits and vegetables can be allowed if they meet State product and price criteria.
USDA Issues New WIC Food Packages
Fruits and Vegetables Will SupportGood Health and Healthy Communities
WIC Participant Choice
State agencies must allow participants to use theirWIC fruit and vegetable vouchers to choose anyWIC-eligible fruit and vegetable.
Fruit and Vegetable Cash Vouchers
The split in each state will be determined by thestate agency based on what is “most beneficial toparticipants and cost effective within the WICredemption infrastructure and environment.” States could provide three $2 fruit and vegetablevouchers to each child per month or one $6voucher, or some other breakout.
Stores and farmers’ markets cannot giveparticipants cash back for the unspent portion of afruit and vegetable voucher.
Participants can pay the difference when thepurchase of fruits and vegetables exceeds thevalue of the voucher.
Inflation Index
The value of the WIC fruit and vegetable benefitwill keep up with inflation through an annual costof living adjustment based on the Consumer PriceIndex for Fruits and Vegetables.
Stocking Requirements
To be approved to accept WIC vouchers, storesmust stock at least two types of fruits and twotypes of vegetables. E.g., apples and peaches andcarrots and lettuce. State agencies may establishdifferent requirements for different types of vendors.

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