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“A wider range of packaged foods, including canned fish, canned beans and some plant-based dairy, could qualify for reimbursement under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) following an update by the US Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), announced this week.

Sugar Association argues that added sugar limit may prevent access to nutrient-dense foods, incentivize low- and no-calorie sweeteners. The trade association commended the agency’s recommendations for a nutritionally balanced and flexible program, however, argue that the limitation of added sugars (10% of total calories) on individual products could limit access to nutrient-dense foods, and potentially incentivize the use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners.

“Added sugar limits on individual foods … contradict scientific evidence showing that grains and flavored dairy sweetened with sugar are not associated with adiposity and, in fact, are associated with improved nutrient adequacy,” Courtney Gaine, president and CEO, Sugar Association shared in a recent statement.

The Sugar Association, along with the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics, argue a reliance on artificial sweeteners could pose health concerns particularly among children, citing a 300% growth in five years of reformulations in low- and no-calorie sweeteners. “Going forward, the US Department of Agriculture should ensure adequate intake of nutrient dense foods and limit the use of low- and no-calorie sweeteners, which are likely to be further incentivized by this rule,” Gaine added.”

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