The American Frozen Food Institute (AFFI) on Tuesday released its recently submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food & Nutrition Service (USDA FNS), calling for the mandatory inclusion of frozen fruits and vegetables in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC).

In November, USDA released a proposed rule for WIC food package updates in an effort to encourage more consumption of fruits and vegetables and proposed an increase in funds toward their purchase. 

AFFI said it was “disappointed to see USDA undercut its effort by limiting the ways that WIC recipients can access fruits and vegetables. The USDA proposal requires states to include fresh but only allows one other form (frozen, dried, or canned). This proposal undeniably and unfortunately positions fresh produce as best for consumers. By limiting access to affordable, convenient and easy to prepare frozen produce that is available year-round and is equally nutritious as fresh produce, USDA fails to recognize the important role of frozen fruits and vegetables in supporting nutrition goals.”

In its comments, AFFI provided four recommendations to improve and modernize the WIC program, including focusing on “evidence-based attributes, such as nutrient density, while avoiding arbitrary attributes like fresh or processed foods.”

Read AFFI’s complete comments here.