Take action before Feb. 21 to prevent peanut allergies and improve health outcomes for all children in the United States.
At Puffworks, one of our biggest missions to is to help reduce peanut allergies, but we recognize that the means to this is not always equitable, so, we are calling on those who share our mission—our customers— to help make access to early introduction of peanut (in a safe form) available to all by commenting on the Proposed Rule by the Food and Nutrition Service by February 21 to help encourage USDA to implement better nutrition standards for The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (better known as WIC) participants - including the inclusion of safe-to-eat peanut foods (to help reduce peanut allergy) among infants 6-11 months.
CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A PUBLIC COMMENT: www.EarlyIntroductionForAll.org.
For background, the Proposed Rule by the Food and Nutrition Service seeks to revise the Women, Infants, and Children Food Packages to better align with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and reflect recommendations made by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) in its 2017 report, “Review of WIC Food Packages: Improving Balance and Choice,” while promoting nutrition security and equity and taking into account program administration considerations.
Statistics from a recently published Food and Nutrition Service report confirm that nearly half (49.8 percent) of all infants are born into families below 185 percent of the federal poverty guidelines—the cutoff for WIC income eligibility. However, WIC's current Food Package II: Infants ages 6 through 11 months (Fully Breastfed, Partially Breastfed, and Fully Formula Fed) - does not currently require peanut butter (in a safe form) even though early introduction to allergens (namely, peanut) has scientifically shown to decrease the incidence of peanut allergy by over 80% (see LEAP Study). "Fortunately, the addition of peanut butter to the foods that WIC makes available to infants is currently under consideration by the USDA and you can help make it happen," encourages Dr. Ron Sunog, pediatrician and Medical Advisor to Puffworks. A safe, simple, nutritious, and inexpensive way to prevent peanut allergy and save children, their families, and society all the harms and medical costs caused by peanut allergy is just a click and a comment away.
You can access the comment portal at www.EarlyIntroductionForAll.org.
Steps to leave a Public Comment:
On the drop down select 'Individual' and to help, we have also crafted a statement to help make the commenting process a little easier (but feel free to change/edit as you see fit!):
As a parent, I think it’s imperative that the USDA add a safe-to-eat peanut food for infants (e.g., peanut powder or peanut puffs), to the Food Package II: Infants ages 6 through 11 months (Fully Breastfed, Partially Breastfed, and Fully Formula Fed). In 2015, the Learning Early About Peanut (LEAP) study was published, making it clear that the early introduction of peanut to high-risk infants can reduce the number who develop peanut allergy. Peanut allergy is a burden to the peanut allergic child, their family, and society. For the child and family, this can result in significant anxiety, medical visits, and thousands of dollars a year in costs. For society, the annual costs run into the billions. It is beyond time to make peanut butter available on WIC. Thank you for your consideration.
Written comments must be received on or before February 21, 2023 to be assured of consideration. Online comments submitted through the Federal Rulemaking Portal on this proposed rule must be received on or before February 21, 2023.
All written comments submitted in response to this proposed rule will be included in the record and will be made available to the public. Please be advised that the substance of the comments and the identity of the individuals or entities submitting the comments will be subject to public disclosure. FNS will make the written comments publicly available online at https://www.regulations.gov.
For more background on WIC and the new proposed Food Package updates, we also encourage you to check-out Katie Ferraro's podcast episode with Darlena Birch, MBA, RDN and Senior Manager of Public Health Nutrition for the National Women Infants and Children Association (NWA) which is a non-profit education arm and advocacy voice of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) about the Proposed WIC Food Package changes.
Katie Ferraro is a Registered Dietitian and mom of 7 specializing in Baby-Led Weaning, and a Puffworks affiliate (and advocate!). Katie also routinely speaks at WIC conferences throughout the country to help educate parents on baby-led-weaning (BLW) and improve nutritional outcomes for infants and children, as she believes “All babies should have the opportunity to eat developmentally appropriate types of foods.”