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New "least expensive brand" policy takes effect Monday
State WIC agency changes food packages to reduce food costs


February 03, 2005

Juneau, Alaska - To combat national rising food costs the Alaska Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) federal supplemental food program has implemented a "least expensive brand" policy for some foods. Effective Monday, Feb. 7th, WIC clients will be required to buy the least expensive brand available for each type of milk or cheese listed on the WIC Approved Food List. Depending on their nutrition needs, children ages 1-3 may receive reduced milk and/or juice food packages.

"The goal of these changes is to reduce program costs while having the least impact on the nutritional quality of the food packages," said Marci Kennai, Deputy Commissioner of the Office of Children's Services. Like other states, Alaska's WIC program is 100% federally funded. Nationally, WIC programs have had to adjust their food packages to reduce food costs and operate within each state's budget. The intent of these early, pro-active efforts is to ensure all eligible participants receive appropriate food.

 Historically, Alaska's WIC program has utilized the maximum allowable food package for children ages 1-3. This new food package continues to meet federal guidelines for the nutritional needs of this age group. These changes also acknowledge recommendations in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which encourages the reduced intake of juice. Current research shows that high juice intake may be linked to childhood obesity.

The WIC program provides eligible clients with nutritious foods. Each state determines the specific types and brands of food that are allowed on the state's food list. The state WIC program is required to monitor food costs and must take measures to ensure food-spending remains within its allotted food budget. The new policy enables DHSS to maximize the benefits and ensure that nutritious foods are available to all eligible WIC participants for the full program year.


On the Web:

Alaska Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) federal supplemental food program


Source of News:

Alaska Department of Health & Social Services
Web Site



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