UPDATED: USDA shuts door to potatoes in WIC - The Packer

UPDATED: USDA shuts door to potatoes in WIC

02/28/2014 02:41:00 PM
Tom Karst

(UPDATED COVERAGE, 4:50 p.m.) The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s final say on changes to Women, Infants and Children program rules shuts the door on white potatoes.

The exclusion — referring to all non-sweet potatoes — has been in place since 2009, but the USDA announced the final rule on Feb. 28.

Agriculture Undersecretary Kevin Concannon, however, said a new scientific review of the WIC food packages will begin soon.

A statement from the National Potato Council said the group is disappointed with the agency’s decision but will continue to work for approval in the WIC fruit and vegetable vouchers.

The final rule also indicates that the fruit and vegetable voucher for children would be raised from $6 to $8 per month. Vouchers for women remain at $10 each month.

Other changes allow purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables instead of jars of baby food for older infants.

 

Those changes will help increase fruit and vegetable consumption, said Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C. Another provision allows WIC mothers to add their own money to fruit and vegetable purchses when the price goes over the amount of the voucher.
“Our only disappointment is that we continue to believe that WIC vouchers should include all fresh fruits and vegetables, without added fats, sugar or sodium, including fresh white potatoes,” Stenzel said in a statement.
Concannon said potatoes remain banned because of Institute of Medicine recommendations, and it minimizes the risk of confusion about the fruit and vegetable vouchers.

 

Those changes will help increase fruit and vegetable consumption, said Tom Stenzel, president of the United Fresh Produce Association, Washington, D.C. Another provision allows WIC mothers to add their own money to fruit and vegetable purchses when the price goes over the amount of the voucher.

“Our only disappointment is that we continue to believe that WIC vouchers should include all fresh fruits and vegetables, without added fats, sugar or sodium, including fresh white potatoes,” Stenzel said in a statement.


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Tina    
Charleston SC  |  March, 04, 2014 at 09:34 AM

So they will be able to buy very high priced fruits and vegetables on $10 for the mom and $8 for the kids? So basically $18 for the month in fruits/veggies? Carrots, apples, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, tomatoes, bell peppers. How many of these items could you get and make last a month for $18??? Ludicrous.

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