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ASMI Celebrates Finalized Rule To Update WIC Packages

Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) logo

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) commends the Biden-Harris Administration and the USDA for improving the nutrition value of the Women’s, Infant’s and Children’s Supplemental Nutrition program’s food packages and further by adding more seafood to their entire array of nutritional programs.

The Biden-Harris Administration recently announced the final science-based food package updates for WIC. This is the first update since 2009 and will go a long way to improve nutrition equity with expanded access to health-promoting seafood for all WIC participant groups.

To date, canned fish has been included only for fully-breastfeeding participants since a pilot initiative in the early 2000’s by the late Senators Ted Stevens of Alaska and Daniel Inouye of Hawaii. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has also been a champion of women and children’s health, leading a 15-year effort with the Alaska delegation to expand seafood access to all WIC participants.

Among other updates, the final changes add 6 ounces of canned fish to food packages for children (ages 1-4 years), including canned Alaska salmon. The final rule also adds 10 ounces of canned fish to food packages for pregnant and postpartum participants and 15 ounces for partially breastfeeding participants, while adjusting amounts for fully breastfeeding participants from 30 to 20 ounces.

Expanding seafood availability to WIC packages for children, pregnant and postpartum women is a sound investment that will support The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-25, which recommends two 8-ounce servings of healthy seafood a week starting at 6 months. Almost all Americans have seafood intakes well below recommended amounts, meaning they miss out on seafood’s healthy fats and nutrient-dense, lean protein. Seafood, in particular wild seafood from Alaska’s sustainable fisheries, adds quality, variety and value to the WIC food packages and responds to WIC participants’ requests.

“ASMI will continue to work to extend science-based access to seafood for children starting at 6 months, the only group not included in this seafood update,” said Bruce Schactler, director of ASMI’s Global Food Aid Program. 

“We will continue to push for modernizing the WIC food packages with additional consumer-ready forms of seafood, like frozen portions in the next update. We are in it for the long term.”

About Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute

The Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute (ASMI) is a partnership between the state of Alaska and the Alaskan seafood industry promoting the benefits of wild and sustainable Alaska seafood and offering seafood industry education. The seafood industry is Alaska’s largest basic private sector employer with 60 percent of all wild seafood and 98 percent of wild salmon harvested in the U.S. coming from Alaska. In addition to wild salmon, Alaska is known for its crab and whitefish varieties, such as Pacific cod, sablefish, halibut, Alaska pollock, sole and rockfish.

Alaska has been dedicated to sustainable seafood for more than 60 years and is the only state with a constitution that mandates all seafood be managed under the sustained yield principle. Alaska has taken a leadership role in setting the global standard for precautionary resource management to protect fisheries and surrounding habitats for future generations and leading to an ever-replenishing supply of wild seafood for markets worldwide.

Read more seafood news from The Shelby Report.

FMI, IFPA Welcome WIC Food Package Updates

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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