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IFPA’s statement after Congressional WIC funding vote


WASHINGTON (March 6, 2024) – The International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) BB #:378962, the largest and most diverse international association serving the entire fresh produce supply chain, commends lawmakers for approving full funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), including a $1 billion increase for fiscal year 2024.

“This bill is a huge victory for all the moms and families who depend on WIC and for all the hardworking members of our industry who support the fresh produce supply chain. We have spent years fighting for WIC’s fruit and vegetable benefit, and we are heartened to see it maintained at its current level,” said IFPA CEO Cathy Burns.

Today’s House vote clears a path to providing supplemental benefits to mothers, infants, and children battling food insecurity, a welcome decision after threats to the WIC program that arose as part of the arguments on federal spending.

Earlier proposals would have cut the fruit and vegetable benefits by 70 percent for women and 56 percent for children. These cuts would have significant consequences for nutrition, likely decreasing produce intake among the nation’s most vulnerable populations at a time when nearly half of American children already don’t eat a daily vegetable.

In January, IFPA launched its largest-ever ad campaign in support of WIC, including a jingle-style ad, sung from the perspective of animated fruits and vegetables to bring awareness to the threat against the WIC program. In September 2023, during IFPA’s Washington Conference, produce industry members delivered hundreds of mini shopping baskets to congressional offices filled with $11 of produce to illustrate the impact of the proposed cuts.

“We are thankful to the advocates, industry partners, and the Members of Congress who stood firm in protecting the fruit and vegetable benefit in WIC. The reality is that these essential benefits should not be put in jeopardy today or ever,” said Burns.

“We deeply appreciate all IFPA members and industry leaders who responded to our call on this important nutrition issue, as it shows the power of our industry’s voice and advocacy in action.”

If lawmakers had failed to act, women and children eligible for the WIC program would have been put on a waitlist, turning away families needing supplemental assistance. The produce industry faced an estimated loss of $1.2 billion in revenue each year from the reduction of fruits and vegetables that would typically be available to WIC participants.

Now passed by the House, the appropriations bill heads to the Senate for consideration and then to the President’s desk for signature. “We urge the Senate to pass, and President Biden to quickly sign, this vital legislation, ensuring that millions of families continue to receive the nutritional support they need,” said Burns.

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.?

Contact: Siobhan May, +1 (302) 781-5855