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IFPA supports increase in WIC produce benefits in appropriations bill

March 9, 2022 — Newark, DE. and Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released text of the 2022 Omnibus Appropriations bill overnight. The bill is expected to be voted on today by the House of Representatives.

“It is a good day for the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program. We applaud leadership for including the bump up in fruit and vegetable benefits to increase nutritional security for families and children,” said International Fresh Produce Association BB #:378962  Vice President of Nutrition & Health Mollie Van Lieu.

“Securing this increase has been a top priority for us this year and we appreciate Congress recognizing that the additional produce benefit has delivered on increasing consumption for children and moving fresh produce through the supply chain.”

The bill also includes funding for the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, Hunger and Health – something IFPA has been advocating for years. The last conference was held more than 50 years ago.

“Given our nation’s overweight and obesity crisis, particularly as we emerge from the pandemic where we saw the devastating consequences of diet-related chronic disease on COVID-19 outcomes – the time is now for the federal government to take a serious and systemic approach to improving our nation’s dietary quality,” added Van Lieu. “The fresh produce industry is ready and willing to serve as partners to achieve the White House Conference goals.”

One provision that the bill does not include are waivers for school meal programs that have allowed schools to serve meals at no charge to students throughout the pandemic.

IFPA remains concerned about the impact on our school nutrition members and the millions of children – across every community in the United States – who depend on these nutritious meals. IFPA will work with stakeholders to ensure that school nutrition programs have the resources they need during this challenging time.

IFPA will continue to work with policymakers on these issues, as well advocating for policies that increase access and consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, including aligning school meals, WIC, SNAP, and USDA purchasing programs, with Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations.

About the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)
The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA)?is the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce and floral supply chain and the only to seamlessly integrate world-facing advocacy and industry-facing support. We exist to bring the industry together to create a vibrant future for all. We grow our member’s prosperity by conducting advocacy; connecting people and ideas; and offering guidance that allows us all to?take action?with purpose and confidence.? While IFPA is built on the legacy of United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association, it is not just a combination. It is transformational. Recognizing the industry required an even more powerful and unified voice, the leaders of the former United Fresh and Produce Marketing Association chose not to merge, but rather to create an entirely new organization to supersede their organizations, effective January 1, 2022.

Contact: Siobhan May, SMay@freshproduce.com +1 (302) 781-5855