Say proposed reduction will have unintended negative health effects

By News Report

WASHINGTON, D.C. | Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Congressman Josh Harder (D-CA) have led a bipartisan letter to United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack calling on him to oppose the Biden Administration’s proposed rule to reduce the amount of milk available to WIC families.

“This proposed reduction of dairy in the WIC food packages will have unintended and significant negative effects on the health of WIC participants, and we strongly urge you to maintain the current WIC dairy allotments in the final rule,” the lawmakers wrote.

In the letter, the lawmakers pointed out that the proposed rule would result in a substantial reduction in the maximum monthly allowance for milk through the WIC program and that this will exacerbate the crisis families are already facing with skyrocketing prices at the grocery store.

“Dairy products provide nutrients that are vital to the health of infants, children, mothers, and expectant mothers. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, about 90 percent of the U.S. population does not meet dairy consumption recommendations. We are greatly concerned that reducing dairy in WIC food packages will negatively impact the nutritional intakes and health of program participants, as it will decrease their access to dairy’s nutrients at life stages key for health and development,” the lawmakers continued.

“Dairy foods are integral to the WIC program, both because dairy provides critical under-consumed nutrients the program is designed to support and because WIC participants choose dairy products at some of the program’s highest rates. WIC has proven, positive impacts on participant health, and it’s critical to addressing health disparities nationwide. Reducing dairy in WIC loses sight of a key factor driving the program’s beneficial effects – participants’ access to the nutrients essential for health and development during the life stages covered by WIC. WIC must continue to support participants’ access to nutritious dairy foods, both for the health of participants and for the program to have its most positive impact. NMPF thanks Representatives Elise Stefanik and Josh Harder for leading this bipartisan message to USDA that its final rule should not reduce WIC participants’ access to dairy and the vital nutrients the program is specifically intended to provide,” said Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation.

“USDA’s proposed cuts to WIC dairy benefits put low-income mothers and children at risk of losing access to critical nutrients at a time when food costs are a major challenge for families. USDA’s proposal ignores its own federal Dietary Guidelines, which say 90 percent of Americans are not consuming enough dairy to meet daily requirements. USDA must not make these cuts and instead, find ways to improve program participation by encouraging the purchase of nutritious milk and dairy. IDFA is grateful to Reps. Stefanik and Harder and the bipartisan group of representatives calling on USDA to maintain the current WIC dairy allotments in the final rule,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of International Dairy Foods Association.

Representatives GT Thompson (R-PA), Pat Ryan (D-NY), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Mike Lawler (R-NY), Jim Costa (D-CA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Bryan Steil (R-WI), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Mary Miller (R-IL), Trent Kelly (R-MS), David Valadao (R-CA), Marc Molinaro (R-NY), John Joyce (R-PA), Max Miller (R-OH), Nick Langworthy (R-NY), Mark Alford (R-MO), Jim Baird (R-IN), Brandon Williams (R-NY), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Brad Finstad (R-MN), and Michelle Fischbach (R-MN) in sending this letter.


Read the article on Sun Community News here.