Maryland Hunger Solutions Applauds Revisions to WIC Food Package

Media Contact:
Colleen Barton Sutton

Statement attributable to Elisabet Eppes, Deputy Director, Maryland Hunger Solutions

BALTIMORE — April 12, 2024 — Maryland Hunger Solutions applauds the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for its final rule revising the food package for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The updated food package will have a positive impact on program participation, health outcomes for WIC participants, and the program’s cultural competence.

WIC plays a critical role in ensuring children receive the nutrition they need for a healthy start in life. In addition to the food package, WIC provides nutrition education, breastfeeding counseling and support, and health care and social service referrals to more than 180,000 women and young children in Maryland.

The final rule marks a critical step toward equitable access to nutritious food by improving the nutritional quality of the foods offered, making WIC more participant-centered, and increasing the value of the food package.

Of the most notable updates to the WIC food package is the permanent increase in the value of the fruit and vegetable benefit—the cash value voucher (CVV) also known as cash value benefit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress took action by passing a provision in the American Rescue Plan to temporarily increase the value of the CVV for WIC-participating mothers and children. The new rule permanently increases children’s benefit from $9 to $25 monthly and pregnant and postpartum participants’ benefit from $12 to $44–$49 per month.

Additional updates to the food package include:

  • increasing whole grain requirements in breakfast cereal, bread, and grains and reducing the maximum allowable sugar content in yogurt and milks consistent with the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans;
  • maximizing food choice to reflect dietary guidance and accommodate cultural and individual preferences; and
  • increasing the allowable range of food package sizes to improve the ease of shopping.

This new rule, combined with the recent full funding for WIC in the 2024 fiscal year appropriations package, sets the stage for essential progress in supporting the health and well-being of more families.

Maryland Hunger Solutions thanks its statewide network of advocates for providing input on the food package during public comment periods. We look forward to working with the Maryland Department of Health, local WIC agencies, community-based organizations, and retailers as the food package changes are implemented over the next year.


About Maryland Hunger Solutions
Maryland Hunger Solutions
 works to end hunger and improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of Maryland residents. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.