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USDA/FNS RIN: 0584-AD77 Publication ID: Fall 2010 
Title: Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Revisions in the WIC Food Packages 
Abstract: This final rule will affirm and address comments from stakeholders on the interim final rule that went into effect October 1, 2009, and for which the comment period ended February 1, 2010. Significant changes to the rule are not anticipated. The rule amended regulations governing the WIC food packages to align them more closely with updated nutrition science and the infant feeding practice guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatrics, promote and support more effectively the establishment of successful long-term breastfeeding, provide WIC participants with a wider variety of food, and provide WIC State agencies with greater flexibility in prescribing food packages to accommodate participants with cultural food preferences. The final rule considers public comments submitted on the impacts of the changes and how they might be refined to assist State agencies and recipients. 
Agency: Department of Agriculture(USDA)  Priority: Economically Significant 
RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Final Rule Stage 
Major: Yes  Unfunded Mandates: No 
CFR Citation: 7 CFR 246 
Legal Authority: 42 USC 1786 
Legal Deadline:
Action Source Description Date
Final  Statutory    11/00/2006 

Overall Description of Deadline: CN and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-265) requires issuance of a final rule within 18 months of release of IOM Report.

Statement of Need: As the population served by WIC has grown and become more diverse over the past 20 years, the nutritional risks faced by participants have changed, and though nutrition science has advanced, the WIC supplemental food packages have remained largely unchanged. A rule is needed to implement recommended changes to the WIC food packages based on the current nutritional needs of WIC participants and advances in nutrition science.

Summary of the Legal Basis: The Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004, enacted on June 30, 2004, requires the Department to issue a final rule within 18 months of receiving the Institute of Medicine’s report on revisions to the WIC food packages. This report was published and released to the public on April 27, 2005.

Alternatives: FNS developed a regulatory impact analysis that addressed a variety of alternatives that were considered in the interim final rulemaking. The regulatory impact analysis was published as an appendix to the interim rule. FNS developed a regulatory impact analysis that addressed a variety of alternatives that were considered in the interim final rulemaking. That regulatory impact analysis was published as an appendix to the interim rule.

Anticipated Costs and Benefits: The regulatory impact analysis for this rule provided a reasonable estimate of the anticipated effects of the rule. This analysis estimated that the provisions of the rule would have a minimal impact on the costs of overall operations of the WIC Program over 5 years. The regulatory impact analysis was published as an appendix to the interim rule.

Risks: This rule applies to WIC State agencies with respect to their selection of foods to be included on their food lists. As a result, vendors will be indirectly affected and the food industry will realize increased sales of some foods and decreases in other foods, with an overall neutral effect on sales nationally. The rule may have an indirect economic affect on certain small businesses because they may have to carry a larger variety of certain foods to be eligible for authorization as a WIC vendor. With the high degree of State flexibility allowable under this final rule, small vendors will be impacted differently in each State depending upon how that State chooses to meet the new requirements. It is, therefore, not feasible to accurately estimate the rule's impact on small vendors. Since neither FNS nor the State agencies regulate food producers under the WIC Program, it is not known how many small entities within that industry may be indirectly affected by the rule. FNS has, however, modified the new food provision in an effort to mitigate the impact on small entities. This rule adds new food items, such as fruits and vegetables and whole grain breads, which may require some WIC vendors, particularly smaller stores, to expand the types and quantities of food items stocked in order to maintain their WIC authorization. In addition, vendors also have to make available more than one food type from each WIC food category, except for the categories of peanut butter and eggs, which may be a change for some vendors. To mitigate the impact of the fruit and vegetable requirement, the rule allows canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables to be substituted for fresh produce. Opportunities for training on and discussion of the revised WIC food packages will be offered to State agencies and other entities as necessary.

Timetable:
Action Date FR Cite
NPRM  08/07/2006  71 FR 44784 
NPRM Comment Period End  11/06/2006   
Interim Final Rule  12/06/2007  72 FR 68966 
Interim Final Rule Effective  02/04/2008   
Interim Final Rule Comment Period End  02/01/2010   
Final Action  06/00/2011   
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No  Government Levels Affected: Federal, Local, State, Tribal 
Small Entities Affected: Businesses, Governmental Jurisdictions  Federalism: No 
Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes 
RIN Information URL: www.fns.usda.gov/wic   Public Comment URL: www.fns.usda.gov/wic  
RIN Data Printed in the FR: No 
Agency Contact:
James F Herbert
Regulatory Review Specialist
Department of Agriculture
Food and Nutrition Service
3101 Park Center Drive,
Alexandria, VA 22302
Phone:703 305-2572
Email: james.herbert@fns.usda.gov

 
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