The USDA Women, Infants and Children nutrition program, aimed at helping low-income families eat healthier food, may replace much of its dairy purchases with fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A USDA proposal would reduce total dairy sales through WIC by around $400 million, from $1326 million to $930 million. WIC purchases currently make up about 6% of U.S. milk sales and 3% of cheese sales, according to USDA statistics.
Although the increase in fruit, vegetable, and whole grain products may benefit some farmers, some producers of products that would be decreased under the new plan - dairy, eggs, and juice - are concerned. Trade groups representing those products have filed comments with USDA, saying their products provide important nutrients for women and children under the program.
WIC nutritionists and anti-hunger groups have supported the proposed changes. USDA expects to decide on the proposed changes by September 2007.