Montana Rolls Back WIC Restrictions on Organics (For Now)

| 12/7/2007 10:31:45 AM

Just a little over a week after putting organic foods on the chopping block, Montana’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program announced Dec. 1 that it’s putting them back on the table, Richard Ecke reports in the Great Falls Tribune

Montana WIC announced that the financially stretched program was going to nominally exclude organic versions of familiar WIC program staples—such as milk, eggs, and cheese—from its approved foods list, the Missoula Independent reported on Nov. 22. But the state quickly reversed that position because of a lack of data demonstrating how much money the measure would actually save, according to Jo Ann Dotson, chief of the Family & Community Health Bureau, which administers the program. Dotson also noted that the state’s large number of organic farms played a role in the decision.

Whether organics will remain safe in the state’s program is up in the air. Plans are still moving forward to implement adjustments in March that will specify (like many other states already do) that WIC checks can only be used to purchase the least expensive brand available at the time of purchase—a policy that will effectively exclude many organic items.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which funds WIC programs, leaves the designation of approved foods to state agencies (though they tend to be similar from state to state) and keeps no central record of approved items. Dotson told Ecke that she believes Montana is the only state that allowed organics in the first place. If you know of a state with a different approach to organics, let us know about it in the comments section below.

Jason Ericson


1/12/2008 10:01:42 AM

If organic products are taken off the list they will definitely save money because many people won't participate. I mean what good is a bunch of hormone, antibiotic laden "milk" going to do cluttering up my refridgerator. i won't drink it, and i certainly won't let my children drink it. If they really need to cut costs, instead of cutting out organic, put $ limits on the checks again. Then if the wic participant chooses to buy organic, and it is more expensive, they will have to choose which products on the check to buy and still stay within the allowed $ amount. I think this may be a reasonable compromise.

1/4/2008 11:05:43 AM

I am a WIC participant. Eliminating the organic products is outrageous! The whole reason I (and I assume many other women as well) participate in the program is for healthy fetus/children. Without organic products, the only option is products filled with hormones and chemicals, thus negating the whole point of the program. Maybe they should consider the health of participants, instead of just the monetary figures.

12/25/2007 12:35:52 AM

Merry #$%&&("-ing Christmas. Scrooged again. BTW... everything ought to be organic. ...and non-GM. Just an old fashioned thought.

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