It’s still unclear to local officials for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program when proposed changes to its food package benefit will be instituted and how it will affect women and children on the program in Bladen County.
County WIC supervisor Bonnie Drew said Wednesday that the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the program, still hasn’t advised local WIC agencies to enact changes to the 22-year-old program meant to provide pregnant, breastfeeding and postpartum women and their children with nutritious foods. The USDA last month proposed changes that would increase the amount of fruits and vegetables the program provides. But it also proposed that the amount of some items provided by the program, such as eggs and milk, would be reduced.
“We’ve had people come in asking about changes, but we haven’t been advised of any changes to the program,” Drew said. “We do know that some changes have been proposed, but it’s not clear when those changes might take effect.”
In 2003, the USDA had the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) take a look at the WIC supplemental foods program. Following the review, the IOM issued a report entitled “WIC Food Packages: Time for a Change.” The USDA’s proposed changes of the WIC food packages are reflective of the findings in that report. The revisions are meant to shift to bring the food packages more in line with current nutritional standards, which have change substantially since WIC’s last major change in 1980.
The USDA’s changes, according to its report, are based in six areas: