Spanberger Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Allow WIC Recipients to Access Whole & Reduced Fat Milk

Sep 08, 2023
Agriculture
Press

The Congresswoman is Leading This Effort Alongside U.S. Rep. G.T. Thompson — Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee

WOODBRIDGE, Va. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — the only Virginian on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee — today introduced a bipartisan bill that would make it easier for expectant mothers and mothers of young children to access milk for their families.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) currently restricts milk choices to nonfat or 1% in most cases. Spanberger’s bipartisan bill would allow participants over the age of two to receive 2% reduced fat or whole milk. This change would provide infants, children, and parents with more of the nutrients they need during key developmental stages.

“As a parent, I know that whole milk provides many of the essential vitamins and minerals that kids need for their early development. But for far too long, the WIC program has been blocked from providing moms with a full selection of milk,” said Spanberger. “That’s why I’m working to cut this unnecessary red tape and make more milk options available. By allowing WIC recipients to purchase whole milk, our bipartisan bill would make sure more children have access to the nutrients they need to grow up healthy and strong.”

Spanberger is leading the bipartisan Giving Increased Variety to Ensure Milk Into the Lives of Kids (GIVE MILK) Act alongside U.S. Representative Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA-15), who serves as Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.

“Whole milk has been wrongfully targeted as unhealthy for the last decade, but in reality, it provides a wealth of essential nutrients that are particularly important for growing children,” said Thompson. “Including whole milk in the WIC program will provide a healthy option for those families who find themselves depending upon these benefits for essential nutrition.”

“NMPF thanks Reps. Thompson and Spanberger for their leadership in increasing the healthy milk options WIC participants can access. WIC is critical to ensuring that pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children can gain the nutrients they need for health and development. Milk provides 13 essential nutrients in a single serving, making it an affordable, effective nutrition powerhouse that promotes food security. Reduced-fat and whole milk are the most popular milk options in the U.S.; allowing these healthful, popular options to be purchased through WIC is a commonsense approach that both increases access and choice,” said Jim Mulhern, President & CEO, National Milk Producers Federation.

“Millions of low-income women and children rely on WIC milk benefits to afford essential, nutritious dairy products. In fact, milk is the single most commonly chosen item among WIC beneficiaries. Surprisingly, the current WIC program does not permit participants to select their preferred milk options, such as whole and 2% milk, resulting in significant participation challenges for state WIC programs. According to a 2023 IDFA-Morning Consult poll, a striking 34% of WIC participants favor whole milk, while 28% prefer 2% milk. The IDFA commends the bipartisan leadership of Reps. Thompson and Spanberger in championing the GIVE MILK Act, which promises to grant WIC participants the ability to access the nutritious milk choices they desire, making the WIC program more attractive to eligible mothers and children,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President & CEO, International Dairy Foods Association.

BACKGROUND

Spanberger has consistently worked to cut red tape and expand access to milk for Virginia kids and families. Earlier this year, she helped reintroduce a bipartisan bill to allow unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered in Virginia’s school cafeterias.

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