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20% of WIC Participants Will Drop Out of Program if USDA Cuts Milk and Dairy Benefits, According to Survey

WASHINGTON, December 20, 2022—On the heels of a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) proposal to cut WIC benefits for milk and dairy purchases, new polling of 534 WIC participants shows that 20% of WIC participants would choose not to re-enroll in the program should USDA follow through with the cuts to milk and dairy benefits in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). IDFA shared the survey results earlier today in a meeting with USDA officials.

A staggering three-in-four WIC participants (76%) said they are concerned with the USDA proposal, with one-third (35%) saying they will need to use non-WIC funds to cover purchases of milk and dairy and one-quarter (26%) saying the reduction will make their shopping for milk and dairy products harder, according to the poll. Roughly one-third (34%) were unsure if they would re-enroll in the program following the proposed cuts.

IDFA estimates that the USDA’s proposal for the updated WIC food package would reduce the amount of dairy up to six quarts per month for pregnant participants and others, including:

Participant Category Current WIC Allotment USDA Proposed Rule MMA for Milk +/- Proposed Rule Compared to Current Rule
Children 1 year

(12 through 23 months)

16 quarts 12 quarts -4 quarts
Children 2 through 4 years 16 quarts 14 quarts -2 quarts
Pregnant 22 quarts 16 quarts -6 quarts
Partially (Mostly) & Fully Breastfeeding 22 quarts 16 quarts -6 quarts
Postpartum 16 quarts 16 quarts No change

“Reducing WIC benefits for milk and dairy will make life harder for millions of women, new mothers, infants, and children at a challenging time of high food costs and rising food insecurity,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., president and CEO of IDFA. “Moreover, USDA’s own proposal flies in the face of the federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which says 90% of Americans are not consuming enough dairy to meet daily requirements. USDA must reverse course and find ways to improve program participation by encouraging the purchase of nutritious dairy products rather than penalizing low-income moms and families during tough economic conditions.”

The national tracking poll was conducted by Morning Consult between December 14-December 16, 2022, among a sample of 534 WIC participants. The interviews were conducted online and the data were weighted to approximate a target sample of registered voters based on gender by age, educational attainment, race, marital status, home ownership, race by educational attainment, 2020 presidential vote, and region. Results from the full survey have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The poll was commissioned by IDFA. To read the results of the poll, visit here.

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