The potato industry is pressing Congress to break its 40-year commitment to ensuring that the foods that the WIC program provides reflect recommendations from nutrition scientists, not lobbyists. And so far, it’s succeeding.
That’s bad news for the 9 million low-income pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children whom WIC — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — serves.
Congress has never dictated the specific foods that WIC should provide, wisely leaving that to nutrition experts. The sound scientific basis for WIC foods is one reason for WIC’s well-documented success at improving birth outcomes and participants’ nutrition and health.
In June, however, the House Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to WIC’s annual funding bill that requires WIC to allow participants to buy white potatoes with WIC fruit and vegetable vouchers.
The Agriculture Department started those vouchers in 2009 — the result of a multi-year process to align WIC foods with the latest nutrition science, based on recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM). WIC is asupplemental nutrition program, so the IOM convened top health and nutrition experts to study which foods tend to be missing from WIC participants’ diets and recommend foods to include in the WIC food package.
As the IOM recommended, WIC provides vouchers for fruits and vegetables but not for white potatoes because that would offer no additional nutritional benefit. Low-income mothers and young children already eat more than the recommended amounts of starchy vegetables.
this is why america needs serious lobby reform. but it wont happen - wait for it - because of the lobbies!!!!