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NGA Supports USDA Efforts To Implement WIC Online Program

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The National Grocers Association submitted comments May 24 to the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its proposed updates to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program to facilitate online access, ordering and food delivery for WIC participants.

“USDA’s WIC program is critical in addressing nutrition insecurity and food access for millions across the country, especially for those living in urban, rural and underserved areas,” said Stephanie Johnson, VP of government relations at NGA.

“Many participants in the WIC program can have limited transportation access or limited time to grocery shop, and current regulations require WIC shopping to take place physically in person. An effective WIC online program would expand access to families in need.”

NGA provided several recommendations for the USDA to improve this rule including:

  • Clarify the definitions and requirements for brick-and-mortar and internet-only vendors;
  • Streamline authorization and certification requirements participating vendors;
  • Provide guidance on product replacement and substitution in a virtual setting; and
  • Offer direction on the types of payments permitted through WIC online.

“While NGA supports an effective WIC online program, the proposed rule lacks general details and guidance for retailers on how to actually implement online ordering for WIC,” Johnson said. “NGA members will require technical assistance, detailed guidance from USDA, and sufficient time to implement these changes.”

Click here to view NGA’s comments.

NGA is the national trade association representing the retail and wholesale community grocers that comprise the independent sector of the food distribution industry. An independent retailer is a privately owned or controlled food retail company operating a variety of formats.

The independent grocery sector is accountable for about 1.2 percent of the nation’s overall economy and is responsible for generating more than $250 billion in sales, 1.1 million jobs, $39 billion in wages and $36 billion in taxes. NGA members include retail and wholesale grocers located in every congressional district across the country, as well as state grocers’ associations, manufacturers and service suppliers.

For more information about NGA, visit nationalgrocers.org.

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