September 5, 2014
I am writing to express my disappointment with the Members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees for mandating a food (potatoes) into the food packages of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) through the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations bills. This marks the first time in the 40 year history of the WIC program that Congress rather than qualified nutrition-scientists are making decisions about which foods should be included in the WIC food packages.
WIC, which provides nutrition education, breastfeeding education and support, medical and social services referrals, and healthy foods (food packages), is regarded as one of the most successful of all federal programs with a 72% public approval rating. A significant body of research has consistently found that WIC contributes to healthier birth outcomes and improved nutrition, while reducing our nation's health care costs. An important reason for WIC's success is that the program provides a science-based food package to supplement and enhance the diets of women and young children, providing only foods that tend to be missing from their diets.
By compromising the scientific integrity for determining the composition of the WIC food package, Congress is putting the effectiveness of WIC in danger.