The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) has conducted further analysis of the final changes to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) announced last month by USDA. Reduced-fat or 2% milk is now excluded from the program unless the recipient can qualify for a specific health exemption.

USDA’s interim final rule from 2007 allowed children older than 24 months and women to choose either 2% reduced-fat milk or 1% low-fat or nonfat milks. With this change, only low-fat or nonfat milk will be the standard issue. Whole milk will still be allowed for infants under 2 years of age (12-23 months).

“This change is significant for IDFA members because an overwhelming majority of program participants have been choosing 2% milk,” said Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs. “Now that more women and children will switch to low-fat or nonfat milk, providing a healthier choice for them, dairy companies will have the opportunity to increase production and likely sales in those categories.”

This rule is effective May 5, 2014. These changes to the final rule were implemented to align WIC participants’ food choices more closely with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommend low-fat and nonfat milk.

For more details and a chart of USDA’s WIC Food Package, read IDFA Summary of WIC Final Rule.