Whole Grains for WIC
Revisions in the WIC Food Packages
In December 2007, USDA published new rules for the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) supplemental feeding program. For the first time, whole grains are part of the food package subsidized by the federal government. The new rules became effective as of October 1, 2009.
What Whole grain foods are WIC-eligible?
While specific products that can be purchased with WIC vouchers are approved state by state, the federal rules specify which whole grains are eligible for consideration.
In brief, whole grains potentially eligible for inclusion in state WIC programs are:
a. 100% whole wheat breads meeting the FDA standard of identity for whole wheat bread.
b. Other whole grain breads that qualify for the FDA whole grain health claim and where the first ingredient is a whole grain.
c. Breakfast cereals that qualify for the FDA whole grain health claim and where the first ingredient is a whole grain, and that also meet requirements for iron and for limited sugar.
d. Brown rice, bulgur, oats and whole-grain barley with no added fats or oils.
e. Wheat and soft-corn tortillas where the first ingredient is whole wheat or whole corn.
Resources for Identifying Qualifying Whole Grains
Here are useful resources that will help state and local WIC programs (and manufacturers producing whole grain foods) understand the new WIC rules:
FNS USDA website summary – everything you need to know about the whole grains part of the new WIC requirements, in one quick web page.
FNS USDA WIC Whole Grain Calculator – answer a list of questions to identify whether a specific whole grain food qualifies for potential inclusion in the WIC program.
Educational Resources for WIC programs
The Whole Grains Council has a wide variety of resources to help state and local WIC programs educate their staffs and WIC participants. All of these resources are provided free of charge to WIC programs. Click on the items to learn more.