FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: February 11, 2021 INFANT Act, introduced by Bambino’s founder and Congressman Don
Young, provides fresh, more healthful food alternatives to WIC families
ANCHORAGE, AK (February 11, 2021) – After two years of cooperative work to eliminate unnecessary rules that limit the types of foods parents can purchase for their babies under the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) supplemental nutrition program, Alaska Congressman Don Young introduced a bill to help parents on public assistance provide for their children. If passed, financially burdened families would have access to healthy, balanced meals offering protein, grains and veggies. The bill would also offer WIC recipients fresh, frozen and natural alternatives to the shelf-stable, less-nutritious options to which they often are limited.
The Infants Need Food and Nutrition Today (INFANT) Act (HR 784) would positively affect up to 3 million infants and toddlers in the WIC system, according to Zoi Maroudas, president and founder of Bambino’s Baby Food, the Anchorage-based company that worked with Young on the bill. Young introduced the bill on Wednesday, Feb. 3., just one day prior to a report introduced by a subcommittee of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform that found unacceptable levels of heavy metals in many baby foods. Having access to more healthful choices helps parents ensure their babies are getting the nutrition they need without such dangerous byproducts.
“Congressman Young and Bambino’s worked on the INFANT bill for over three years,” Maroudas said. “This bill was first put forth in the summer of 2019, but then COVID-19 happened and it was put on hold.”
Congressman Young said the INFANT Act levels the playing field so all children have access to proper nutrition.
“Alaska is home to countless farmers, fishermen, and producers whose products could benefit the health of Alaska’s children, and the mothers in our state who rely on WIC to feed their little ones should be afforded the option of purchasing healthy, locally sourced foods,” he said. “I encourage my friends on both sides of the aisle to support my legislation for the sake of Alaska’s children – and children across our nation.”
“We are pleased that our bill will be recognized for its importance, and reintroduced to this new administration, especially in light of COVID-immune challenges,” Maroudas said. “At the end of the day, all children should have access to safe and healthy baby food options, and the INFANT Act can help that become a reality.”
Under current WIC regulations, inclusive meals composed of protein (chicken, beef or seafood), vegetables and grains are not allowed. WIC also does not allow for fresh frozen organic products, or for certain package sizes, which forces WIC families to opt for shelf-stable products that aren’t as nutritious, and also produce more food-packaging waste.
With the passage of the INFANT Act, Maroudas says children will be set up for much better success as their bodies and minds grow and develop. Maroudas, who was born in Greece, but raised in Anchorage, is a medical professional and expert in the Mediterranean diet. Her mission with Bambino’s is to create a product line that promotes well-balanced eating habits for developing children, which is why she was motivated to work with Congressman Young on HR 784. Her company’s 20- plus products are made in Anchorage, with all-Alaska ingredients. They are non-GMO, kosher, organic and natural, with no
To see the original bill Congressman Young presented on July 17, 2019, go to HR 3818
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