USDA proposes rule to add more seafood to WIC program
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a proposal that would see more seafood added to food packages for the Women, Infants and Children’s Supplemental Nutrition (WIC) program.
The proposed rule, the first food package update of the WIC program since 2009, includes revisions incorporating recommendations from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, USDA said in a press release.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025 recommend two eight-ounce servings of healthy seafood a week starting at six months of age.
The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute and Seafood Nutrition Partnership both praised the move to add more seafood to the WIC program. Nearly all Americans fall below the recommended amount of weekly seafood consumption "and miss out on the healthy fats and nutrient-dense, lean protein found in seafood," ASMI said.
"These proposed changes will improve equitable access to nutritious and accessible canned seafood, including Alaska salmon,” ASMI said.
ASMI Global Food Aid Program Executive Director Bruce Schactler said the change will provide crucial support for U.S. fisheries.
“Including more seafood in the update and expanding its availability in WIC packages for children, pregnant, and postpartum women in addition to breastfeeding mothers will be great for their health,” Schactler said in a press release. “It also is a sound investment that will support the U.S. seafood and retail industries, including many small businesses.”
SNP Founder and President Linda Lai Cornish said the proposed updates expand the availability of fish “to the populations who need it most – pregnant women, infants, and young children – over six million participants.”
“This is a significant step in improving the health of all Americans," Cornish said. "SNP and its Scientific Nutrition Advisory Council have worked hard to bring awareness of the latest science on the benefits of seafood consumption for baby brain development."
ASMI and SNP are encouraging interested parties to provide input on the proposed rule during the public comment period, running through 21 February, 2023, at www.regulations.gov.
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