Fruit and vegetable vouchers for moms participating in the Women, Infant and Children feeding program got a $2 per month boost by Congress.

Congress passed the fiscal year 2010 agricultural appropriations bill in mid-October with an increase of $2 per month for the fruit and vegetable voucher received by 1.6 million moms.

Congress boosts value of WIC produce vouchers

DiSogra

"United Fresh is thrilled with this increase for fruits and vegetables for WIC moms, but we remain fully committed and engaged in urging the Obama administration and Congress to also increase the value of the children's fruit and vegetable vouchers which reach 4.7 million WIC children each month," Lorelei DiSogra, vice president of nutrition for the United Fresh Produce Association, said in a news release.

The agricultural appropriations bill containing the voucher increase was on President Obama's desk Oct. 19 and expected to be signed soon, said Tracy Fox, president of Food, Nutrition & Policy Consultants LLC, Washington, D.C.

She said the association has worked with the National WIC Association and the Food Research and Action Center over the past five months to increase the voucher value for both mom and children.

The WIC fruit and vegetable voucher became a part of food packages in all 50 states Oct. 1.

Original funding had set the monthly value of the vouchers at $8 per month for moms, but the fiscal 2010 appropriations bill provides the $10 per month recommended by the Institute of Medicine in April 2005.

United Fresh has worked with the National WIC Association and the Food Research and Action Center over the past five months to increase the voucher value, according to the United Fresh news release.

States should be able to implement the increase in the value of the WIC voucher for mothers within three months, according to the release.

The new benefit will be worth an additional $41 million in additional fruit and vegetable purchases during the fiscal year 2010 year, according to United Fresh.

DiSogra said legislation addressing child nutrition programs is expected to be considered early next year. Legislation extending child nutrition programs through Sept. 30 was approved by Congress, but DiSogra said it is likely Congress will want to look at completing work on that legislation early in 2010.