NEWS Federal food plan does call for less milk

Federal food plan does call for less milk

Jill Terreri Ramos News Special

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third Republican in the House, criticized the Biden administration after proposed changes to a federal food program for women and children became public.

“The Biden administration’s proposal to limit the amount of milk provided to WIC participants is wrong,” Stefanik said in a news release.

Stefanik represents a geographically large area of ​​upstate New York, home to many of the state’s nearly 3,600 dairies.

She called the proposed reforms “deeply flawed” and said the government “disgracefully further restricts milk choices for families and leaves the door open for more mandatory vegan juice consumption.” Dairy farmers in the north work hard to provide families in NSW with delicious and Nutritional products in York and across the country, this proposed rule is a slap in the face for their important work.”

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Stefanik is often critical of the Biden administration, and we wonder if she’s right about milk.

The Women, Infants, and Children’s Special Supplemental Nutrition Program (WIC) provides low-income women, infants, and children with healthy food, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health care providers and social services until their fifth birthday. In 2020, the program served approximately 7 million people. Nutritional assistance is provided in packages specific to each population the program serves: pregnant women, postpartum women, infants, children, and more.

The proposed changes to the plan reflect the latest dietary guidelines issued in 2020, as well as a 2017 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, a non-governmental organization of leading experts providing independent analysis and evidence-based Suggest.

The Federal Register details the changes. The proposal calls for reducing the amount of milk provided in food packaging for all children and pregnant and lactating participants. The amount for postpartum women will remain the same.

Compared to the current maximum monthly allowance for milk, children will receive 2 to 4 quarts less per month, depending on age. Participants who were pregnant and mostly breastfeeding ate 6 quarts less per month, while those who were exclusively breastfeeding ate 8 quarts less per month. The proposed rule also calls for new meals specifically for 1-year-olds, who are grouped with older children under current rules. Under the new guidelines, 1-year-olds will consume less than 2- to 4-year-olds.

According to the USDA, which administers the WIC program through its Food and Nutrition Service, the reason for the change is that the current program provides up to 128 percent of the daily recommended amount of dairy products. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that the amount of milk allowed under the program should be reduced to between 71 percent and 96 percent of the recommended amount.

According to the Federal Register notice, the recommended amounts meet nutritional guidelines for a balanced diet that meet but do not exceed the recommended amounts of foods and nutrients to prevent obesity and do not replace other healthy foods.

USDA Press Secretary Marisa Perry told PolitiFact the change is “modest” and represents just a 3 percent reduction in WIC spending on milk and milk alternatives.

“WIC’s food packages are designed to complement, fill specific nutritional gaps, and provide a balanced and nutritious diet based on what participants are already eating,” Perry said. This reduction allows the packaging to deliver a better balance of food and nutrients, she said.

Shannon E. Whaley is vice chair of the National Academy of Sciences committee that issued recommendations for the proposed changes, and is director of research and evaluation for the nonprofit public health foundation’s corporate WIC program. Whaley emphasized the complementary nature of the program, adding that participants were buying less milk through the program than what was allocated. “As a result, the report suggests a small correction for milk issuance, which remains above average redemptions,” Whaley said.

We asked Stefanik’s office about her claim that these recommendations open the door to more “mandatory vegan juice consumption.”

“As stated in the proposed rule, the USDA is leaving the door open for the availability of other plant-based beverages such as oats, almonds,” said Palmer Brigham, a spokesman for Stefanik. Shift to more vegan juice consumption.”

WIC program participants have different needs, such as food allergies or vegetarians, who don’t drink milk, said Susan Gross, a WIC researcher at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Program administrators want to explore whether other alternatives can be offered. Lactose-free milk and soy milk have been part of the program, but other milk alternatives, such as almond milk, have not been because they don’t have enough nutrients to meet USDA standards, said Gross, a deputy director of the institute. Scientist Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and WIC Program Dietitian.

WIC packages are customized for each participant, and participants can choose the type of milk they want. “No one is forced to drink milk alternatives,” Gross said.

USDA will accept public comments on the proposed changes until February 21, 2023.

Stefanik claims the proposed rule would limit milk for participants in the federal Women’s and Children’s Food Program.

political facts

The USDA is proposing changes to the program that include reducing the amount of liquid milk available to most program recipients based on new dietary guidelines and recommendations from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The deduction is also consistent with items purchased by WIC recipients through the program.

Stefanik also predicts that the proposed rules will lead to more “mandatory vegan juice consumption.” We do not fact-check forecasts and that statement is outside the scope of this award. However, it should be noted that, based on the available evidence, WIC does not and will not compel anyone to use milk alternatives.

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