Back to Specialty Food News

NGA Submits Comments on Proposed WIC Online Rule

National Grocers Association submitted comments to the USDA last week regarding its proposed updates to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program. The proposed updates aim to facilitate online access, ordering, and food delivery for WIC participants.

“USDA’s WIC program is critical in addressing nutrition insecurity and food access for millions across the country, especially for those living in urban, rural, and underserved areas,” said Stephanie Johnson, NGA vice president of government relations, in a statement. “Many participants in the WIC program can have limited transportation access or limited time to grocery shop, and current regulations require WIC shopping to take place physically in person. An effective WIC online program would expand access to families in need.”

NGA provided several recommendations for the USDA to improve this rule before implementing including:

• Clarify the definitions and requirements for brick-and-mortar and internet-only vendors

• Streamline authorization and certification requirements for participating vendors

• Provide guidance on product replacement and substitution in a virtual setting

• Provide clear guidance on the types of payments permitted through WIC online

“While NGA supports an effective WIC online program, the proposed rule lacks general details and guidance for retailers on how to actually implement online ordering for WIC,” Johnson added. “NGA members will require technical assistance, detailed guidance from USDA, and sufficient time to implement these changes.”

Related: NGA Opposes $15 Minimum Wage; NGA Supports CBD Legislation.