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Organic Consumers Association

Washington State WIC Says Organic Milk has "No Nutritional Benefit"

Web note: Wait a minute. Haven't there been an overwhelming number of studies done that DO show the advantages of organics? Yup, that's right, there have. Check out the Science section of the Organic Center website. Study after study shows that organics are better for you than conventional! The Organic Center was actually formed to provide credible, peer-reviewed scientific evidence on how organic products and systems benefit human health and the environment. Check your facts, Washington State WIC Program! If this is really about cost, then why try to discredit the benefits of organics?

Below is the message we [Washington State WIC Nutrition Program] are sending out to stakeholders announcing the WIC approved food list for October 1, 2009.  I know you will be disappointed in our decision to not allow organic milk because of cost, and I hope the following FAQ will help explain our rationale.  All of this information is also on our website.

Question:  Why are you not approving organic milk?

Answer:  The reason is cost.  Most organic milk costs over two times more than non-organic milk.  When organic milk was approved for Washington WIC eight years ago, it was only slightly more costly.  This is no longer true and we cannot afford to approve organic milk.

We heard from over 900 people asking us to keep organic milk approved.  Many made statements that organic milk is better - more nutritious and with fewer pesticides, hormones and antibiotics than non-organic milk.

We are aware there are studies that show the benefits of organic food as well as studies which either do not show a benefit, or actually show a negative effect.  WIC's primary mission is nutrition education, not research or interpreting data, and so we rely on scientific experts at universities and other organizations to interpret all the studies and provide guidance for food selection.  In particular we look to the National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine and the American Academy of Pediatrics.  They and other experts do not currently state organic food should be available through WIC programs. Without support from the experts we cannot justify the additional cost of organic milk.  We understand this is disappointing for some WIC clients, and we encourage clients who prefer organic milk to stay on the WIC program for other program benefits and foods.  For these clients we can take milk off of their WIC checks.

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