Bill Would Add Multivitamins to Food Assistance Program

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Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – New legislation introduced by Congressman Dave Brat (R-VA) would make multivitamin dietary supplements an allowable purchase for the 8 million people receiving assistance through the special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children (WIC).

“Expanding WIC to include multivitamins would create an oasis for the 25 million Americans living in food deserts and make it easier for people to provide healthier lives for their families,” said Dan Fabricant, Ph.D., president and CEO of NPA, which worked single-handedly to move the legislation forward.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) and American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) made a similar appeal regarding the SNAP Vitamin and Mineral Improvement Act while meeting with legislators during the Day on the Hill.

“We’re thrilled,” said Mike Greene, senior vice president of government relations for CRN, of the news about the WIC bill (which is different than SNAP). “CRN and its members believe anytime we look at the multivitamin to help low-income Americans, it is the right thing.”

Greene said he would meet with Congressman Brat early next week.

The Natural Products Association (NPA) recently launched a webpage at www.saveoursupplements.org to write Congress asking them to support the “WIC Improvement Act,” H.R. 3529, for multivitamins to be eligible under WIC.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a food desert “as parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.”  As part of an effort to bring awareness to this growing problem, the USDA created an interactive map to show the areas most impacted, which can be viewed here.

Since 1978, the WIC Supplemental Food Program has served low-income, at risk pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women, infants, and children up to age 5. The WIC program provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education.

(Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 7/28/17. This article was modified on 7/31/17 to clarify the respective roles of NDA and CRN.)

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