Target: State Women, Infants, and Children agencies
Goal: Allow organic foods to be purchased with food stamps.
Low-income families that receive government help through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program are explicitly forbidden in many states from purchasing organic versions of milk, peanut butter, cereal, and other staples with their benefits. These restrictions unjustifiably single out organic foods and are not based on price or nutritional quality. The program serves 53% of all infants born in the US as well as many children and pregnant or nursing women, so its policies have far-reaching health, economic, and environmental impacts.
Organic foods often have lower pesticide residues, are less likely to contain added antibiotics, hormones, and other additives, and are more likely to be grown using environmentally-friendly methods.
Conventionally-raised cows are fed antibiotics and added hormones to spur unusually fast growth, and residues of these chemicals have been found in their milk. Commercial peanut butter frequently contains trans-fatty acids, which are chemically altered fats that have been linked to obesity and heart disease. Conventionally-grown crops may contain pesticide residues that have unknown health effects. Allowing organic options lets families avoid these costly health risks.
Despite the benefits of buying organic and the risks of certain approved foods, most state agencies specifically state that organic milk, peanut butter, cereal, and other foods will not be covered, regardless of price.
Urge state governments to stop singling out organic foods. Tell them to give low-income families the choice to feed their families the healthiest options they can by removing all specific restrictions on organic foods.
Dear Women, Infants, and Children Agency:
Singling out and disallowing organic foods on the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food lists is unjustified. There is no evidence to specifically exclude organic foods based on that label alone, when organic foods are often both nutritious and affordable. Please promptly remove these unwarranted restrictions and allow families to purchase organic items using their benefits.
Organic options benefit consumers by reducing exposure to added hormones, antibiotics, pesticide residues, and various additives. Non-organic milk has been shown to contain traces of the added hormones and antibiotics administered in commercial feedlots, which may be a factor in endocrine disorders. Commercial peanut butter commonly contains trans-fatty acids, which have been linked to heart disease and obesity. All crops grown with synthetic pesticides may have pesticide residues with unknown health effects. Allow families the right to choose to avoid these risks by using their benefits for organic versions.
Families should have the right to budget their benefits according to their priorities, particularly given that many organic foods are now competitively priced. Please remove these unjustified restrictions on organic foods for those receiving government benefits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Bizzarri Srl