Infant formula in food program to change starting next month
Families receiving infant formula from the Pennsylvania Women, Infants and Children supplemental food and nutrition program will notice a switch in brands next month.
Under a new five-year contract, WIC will offer Similac Advance and its Isomil brand made in Illinois instead of Nestle's Gerber Good Start, manufactured in Michigan. The switchover will begin Oct. 1 and is scheduled for completion Nov. 1. Special infant formula authorized by WIC will still be provided with prescriptions from physicians, certified nurse practitioners or physician assistants.
“The switch had nothing to do with nutritional content,” said Guillermo Cole, spokesman for the Allegheny County Health Department. “Every five years, the state re-evaluates its contracts, and sometimes changes are made.”
Pennsylvania WIC provided Similac and Isomil from 2003 to 2008, when it switched to Gerber. Cole said he wasn't sure why the state chose to switch back, and officials from the state Department of Health could not be reached for comment.
Similac Advance costs a few cents less than Good Start — according to information available online at Amazon and some other websites — which likely led the state to switch for cost savings. Otherwise, the two are a close match nutritionally.
Similac has marginally less sodium, carbohydrates and protein per gram. Isomil, a soy-based alternative, falls somewhere in the middle nutritionally with more fat, sodium and protein and fewer carbs, according to nutritional information provided by the Food and Drug Administration.
“We're always happy to address any concerns or issues,” Cole said, “but we don't anticipate any problems.”
WIC is a federally funded program for income- and medically-eligible pregnant women, postpartum mothers, breastfeeding mothers and children younger than 5 for families with an annual gross income starting at $21,257.
Historically, small changes in WIC programs have yielded “small but significant” results, according to a 2008-11 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study found obesity rates of low-income preschoolers fell in 19 of 43 U.S. states and territories after the WIC program added vouchers for the purchase of fresh fruits and vegetables, including Pennsylvania-grown produce purchased at participating farmers markets.
WIC provides nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support and food vouchers redeemable at participating grocery stores for infant formula and cereal, milk, eggs, cheese, juice, peanut butter, whole grains, tofu, jarred baby foods, beans, canned fish, fruits and vegetables.
Megan Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Plum officials reassess equipment policy after sexual assault case
- Pittsburgh police solve fewer homicides
- Allegheny County to increase restaurant penalties
- Plum teacher’s lawyer says latest allegations don’t measure up
- Duquesne man arrested again for Megan’s Law violations
- Security cameras, more police planned at Monroeville Mall
- Pittsburgh police find missing 75-year-old man
- Detour signs highlight woes expected in Bigelow and Baum projects in Pittsburgh
- Newsmaker: Sara Mantick
- Pittsburgh man going to prison for fatally stabbing girlfriend’s son with butcher knife
- Teen missing for a week found safe by Pittsburgh missing persons unit