Dairy Groups Concerned with Proposed Changes in WIC

Jamie Johansen

Jim Mulhern, President and CEO of National Milk Producers Federation, and Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President and CEO of International Dairy Foods Association are concerned with the proposed changes in WIC from the National Academy of Sciences who is suggesting a major reduction in servings of milk.

“The NAS Committee’s recommendations would undermine the nutritional value of the WIC program to needy Americans. It is contradictory that the NAS report would both acknowledge that many WIC participants are not getting enough milk, yet at the same time suggest further reducing the milk served through the program.

“Milk, cheese and yogurt are the No. 1 source of nine essential nutrients in children’s diets: protein, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, vitamins A, B12, D and riboflavin. The reason dairy foods are included in the WIC package is that no other food source can deliver such a wide range of vital nutrients to mothers and young children. Cutting back on dairy is a step in the wrong direction.

“To its credit, the committee also made recommendations that encourage dairy consumption by WIC participants, including continuing to allow the substitution of cheese, and expanding options for substituting yogurt, as well as making it easier for participants to purchase yogurt in popular sizes. The committee also recognized that many plant-based beverages, such as those derived from almonds and rice, are not nutritionally equivalent to milk.

“As the U.S. Department of Agriculture considers this report, we will work to highlight the value to all Americans of the nutrition that only milk and dairy products can provide.”