PARK RIDGE, Ill. -- The Egg Nutrition Center and American Egg Board released the following statement regarding a proposed USDA rule that would cut down the number of eggs in WIC food packages:

Today, the USDA published a proposed rule announcing revisions to the food packages offered in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, commonly known as WIC. The USDA's proposed rule calls for reductions in the amount of eggs, milk and juice that would be offered in the food packages.

Based on the proposed rule, the monthly allowance for eggs would be reduced from 2 to 2 1/2 dozen eggs to one dozen for children, pregnant women and partially breastfeeding women, and from 2 to 2 1/2 dozen to two dozen for fully breastfeeding women.

"Eggs provide several nutrients, such as protein, iron, folate, and vitamins B6 and B12, which play an important role in the health of the women and children enrolled in WIC," said Donald J. McNamara, executive director of the Egg Nutrition Center. "A reduction in eggs would make it more difficult for WIC participants to meet their nutrient needs."

Specifically, eggs are one of the most convenient and economical sources of protein. They also provide a type of iron, called heme iron, that is particularly well absorbed by the body. Additionally, eggs are an excellent source of choline, an essential nutrient that has recently been shown to play an important role in infant brain and memory development. Eggs are also widely enjoyed by the culturally-diverse WIC recipients.

Further, dietary cholesterol should not be a nutrition concern for the WIC population of young women and children. The current body of research shows that the 212 mg of cholesterol in a large egg does not contribute to cardiovascular disease risk, since egg intake does not measurably increase the level of small LDL-cholesterol in the blood that is believed to be atherogenic.

American Egg Board is the U.S. egg producer's link to the consumer in communicating the value of the incredible egg and is funded from a national legislative checkoff on all egg production from companies with greater than 75,000 layers, in the continental United States. The board consists of 18 members and 18 alternates from all regions of the country who are appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The Egg Nutrition Center, Washington, D.C., was established in 1979 to provide commercial egg producers and processors, health promotion agencies and consumers with a resource for scientifically accurate information on egg nutrition and the role of eggs in the health and nutrition of the American diet. The center exists under a cooperative agreement between the American Egg Board and United Egg Producers.

SOURCE: Egg Nutrition Center via PR Newswire.