Enhancements Made to WIC, Opportunities Remain to Further Increase Produce Consumption

American Frozen Food Institute Calls on USDA to Ease Access to Frozen Fruits and Vegetables

Arlington, Va. – The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) today responded to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) new rule for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). AFFI is excited to see increased fruit and vegetable benefits for WIC families. However, much work remains to ensure all families have access to the forms of produce that best serve their unique needs. AFFI will work with individual states to ensure the quality, nutritious, fresh-frozen produce provided by its membership is available to all WIC families.

“AFFI thanks USDA for their continued commitment to increasing fruit and vegetable consumption,” said Alison Bodor, AFFI President and CEO. “The updated WIC rule reflects that families rely on multiple formats of produce as part of their busy lives and AFFI will continue to advocate for all WIC families to have the same access as my family – the ability to select the form of fruit or vegetable that best meets their needs.”

Thanks to the ease of preparation, year-round availability and reduced waste made possible through freezing, consumers who eat frozen fruits and vegetables eat more total fruits and vegetables than others[1]. These foods are frozen at the peak of ripeness, locking in nutritional value and taste so that consumers can enjoy the produce when it is convenient for them.

It is notable that the updated WIC rule now requires all states to include one other form of fruits and vegetables, beyond fresh produce. AFFI believes that all states should be required to include frozen produce in their WIC benefits. AFFI suggested in previous comments that WIC should also promote the parity of healthful foods in all temperature states and forms, including frozen.

“We recognize the progress that USDA has made in enhancing WIC so that it can meet the needs of all families,” added Bodor. “AFFI looks forward to further working with USDA and state agencies to ensure that all families have access to nutritious and high-quality frozen produce.”

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The American Frozen Food Institute is the member-driven national trade association representing all segments of the frozen food supply chain from manufacturers to suppliers and distributors. AFFI advocates before legislative and regulatory entities on the industry’s behalf, serves as the voice for the industry and convenes industry leadership to create an environment where frozen foods are essential in a dynamic marketplace. www.affi.org

[1] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29290348/

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