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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Finalized Science-Driven Updates to Foods Provided Through WIC

Enhancements will promote nutrition security and maternal and child health, increase flexibility for participants and follow Administration’s successful efforts to fully fund WIC

Chicago, April 9, 2024 – Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced today that USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has finalized updates to the foods prescribed to participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, known as WIC. These science-based revisions incorporate recommendations from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.

Today’s announcement follows the Biden-Harris Administration’s successful efforts to ensure that WIC was fully funded for FY 2024, including an extra $1 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. The Administration was able to secure in total over $7 billion in critical funding to provide nearly seven million pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and young children with critical nutritional assistance they need and deserve.

“WIC has a half-century track record of caring for young families. USDA and the Biden-Harris Administration are committed to ensuring that moms, babies and young children continue to thrive through WIC,” said Secretary Vilsack. “These participant-centered changes will strengthen WIC by ensuring the foods participants receive reflect the latest nutrition science to support healthy eating and the brightest futures.”

The WIC food packages are prescribed foods and beverages specifically designed to supplement the foods and beverages participants already consume and fill in key nutritional gaps to support healthy growth and development. FNS proposed changes in November 2022 to align the food packages with the latest nutrition science and support equitable access to nutritious foods during critical life stages. This effort finalizes the changes in consideration of feedback received through public comment.

These improvements to the WIC food packages support fruit and vegetable consumption by increasing the amount provided and the varieties available for purchase. FNS has made permanent a significant boost to the fruit and vegetable benefit provided to WIC participants, providing participants with up to four times the amount they would otherwise receive.

Other enhancements include, but are not limited to:

  • Expanding whole grain options to include foods like quinoa, blue cornmeal, and teff to reflect dietary guidance and accommodate individual or cultural preferences.
  • Providing more convenience and options within the dairy category, including flexibility on package sizes and non-dairy substitution options such as plant-based yogurts and cheeses and requiring lactose-free milk to be available.
  • Including canned fish in more food packages, creating more equitable access to this under-consumed food.
  • Requiring canned beans to be offered in addition to dried.
  • Adding more flexibility in the amount of infant formula provided to partially breastfed infants to support moms’ individual breastfeeding goals.

The changes will provide participants with a wider variety of foods to support healthy dietary patterns and allow WIC state agencies more flexibility to tailor the food packages to accommodate personal and cultural food preferences and special dietary needs, making the program more appealing for current and potential participants. WIC state agencies will have two years to implement these changes, allowing time to engage with key partners on how best to tailor the new food packages to meet the needs of participants.

“For the 6.6 million moms, babies and young children who participate in WIC – and the millions more eligible to participate – these improvements to our food packages have the potential to make positive, life-long impacts on health and well-being,” said Food and Nutrition Service Administrator Cindy Long.

WIC - Building Healthy Foundations Infographic

WIC is one of the most powerful, evidence-based public health programs available, with a 50-year history of improving health and developmental outcomes for children. Participants receive specialized nutrition, key resources – including nutrition education, breastfeeding support and immunization screening – and referrals to health and social services.

WIC is also uniquely positioned to help reduce racial disparities in maternal and child health outcomes. WIC participation rates are highest among WIC-eligible Hispanic and non-Hispanic Black individuals, and the previous updates to the WIC food packages were shown to help increase access to healthier foods for Hispanic and Latino WIC participants.

Given the program’s proven benefits, FNS is committed to modernizing WIC to maximize its impact throughout participants’ entire period of eligibility. To learn more, visit the WIC Modernization & Innovation webpage.

FNS 50th Anniversary WIC graphic

The updated standards build on the momentum from the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, where the Biden-Harris administration unveiled a national strategy to end hunger and reduce diet-related disease by 2030. The conference also supported focus areas to increase food and nutrition security for better health outcomes.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit


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