Act Now – Support Greater Access to Healthy Foods in WA

Oct 3, 2011 by

Act Now – Support Greater Access to Healthy Foods in WA

Opportunity to Support Greater Access to Healthy Foods – WIC Criteria – Vendor Applications

An important proposed rule is up for comment by the WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) program at the state level. The State Department of Health’s WIC Program is currently undergoing a public review of program rules related to WIC Vendor criteria which can impact the ability of small grocers to become WIC vendors.

Letters, testimony and web comments are strongly encouraged.  A sample letter from COPC is available here.

Key messages include:

  • Support Health Equity: Across Washington State, there are low-income communities with limited access to supermarkets; these populations also have higher rates of chronic diseases, health disparities, and poverty.  Further, supermarkets may not carry specific cultural foods of the many ethnic and cultural populations in our state; these communities often prefer to shop at small neighborhood stores that provide not only foods they are familiar with but where the store operators also speak their language. 
  • Leveling the Playing Field: change or eliminate language in several rules provisions that, if enacted, make it more difficult for small business owners to become eligible vendors.  Three prominent examples includes:
  1. 246-790-077 (2) (a) — requiring WIC stores to carry non-WIC items;
  2. 246-790-077 (1) (d) – requires stores to carry a scale to weigh foods rather than allowing stores to sell produce by unit; and
  3. 246-790-077 (2) (b) – definition of nonretail suppliers include vendors such as Costco or Cash-n-Carry which already require that retail stores present a reseller’s permit.

Details:  The comment period began on August 22, 2011 and closes COB Wednesday, October 5, 2011. We apologize for the extremely short time period for action.

 For more information and to see the entire WIC rules document, visit:  https://fortress.wa.gov/doh/policyreview/Documents/1117103wicnutritionrule102final.pdf.

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