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USDA offers lead testing for Flint WIC families

News Service

Officials with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) dropped into Flint yesterday to offer support for residents reeling from the water crisis.

Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Katie Wilson announced residents in Flint who participate in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program can have lead testing done, paid for by the program. She explains the department wants to help families get through the crisis.

"It will definitely make it more convenient for families when they come to the WIC clinic for their nutrition education, and their WIC vouchers and their other well-baby checks," says Wilson, "then this lead testing can also take place."

Wilson adds WIC moms of formula-fed babies have the choice to receive ready-to-feed formula instead of powered. Additionally, all Flint residents in the program are being given water filters and other services.

Wilson says the visit was part of ongoing efforts to ensure USDA programs in Flint promote foods high in Vitamin C, calcium, and iron that can help mitigate the impact of lead.

"We saw some really good things going on, talked to the state agency, heard some really good progressive things that they're doing to help with both nutrition education," Wilson says, "as well as opening the door to these programs to make sure people have the accessibility of those programs."

Officials also announced additional funds to ensure each child in a low-income community receives fresh fruit or a vegetable each day at school. The USDA has been working with state agencies to respond to the lead crisis since the fall.

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