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A publication of the Texas Food Council
In This Issue
Texas WIC Program Update: WIC Fillable Brochure
Texas WIC Program Update: Least Expensive Brand Declaration
Update: Austin Bag Ban
Payroll Tax Holiday Extended for Two Months
Texas WIC Program Update: WIC Least Expensive "Item Specific" Pink Stickers
Incandescent (Edison) Light Bulb Phase Out Put On Hold
SNAP Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) Update

Texas WIC Program Update: 

WIC Fillable Brochure


WIC customers frequently express frustration with not knowing what brands a store has declared as its traditionally least expensive brands. In an effort to assist in identifying these brands, we've developed a fillable WIC brochure for grocers to customize with their respective store's declared least expensive brands of WIC foods. Click here to view the brochure and instructions for using it.  


On the brochure, you can easily enter the brands of milk, juice, cheese, whole grains, dried beans, peas and lentils you have declared. Additionally, the brochure provides space for entering which brands of cereal and canned beans are stocked in your store. Printing the completed brochure and distributing to WIC recipients is great customer service and provides the tools WIC clients need to make informed choices and have a better shopping experience.


To obtain a WIC fillable brochure and instructions email

Texas WIC Program Update: Least Expensive Brand Declaration      


WIC authorized vendors must declare their traditionally Least Expensive Brand (LEB) of WIC approved milk, juice, cheese, dry beans, whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole wheat tortillas, and yellow and white corn tortillas.  


The vendor policy regulating least expensive branding is found hereWIC vendors may change out LEB items on an as needed basis during the year. 

To obtain a WIC Traditionally Least Expensive Brand Declaration form email:
Austin Plastic Bag Ban Update  

The City of Austin might ban disposable plastic and paper bags three years earlier than originally planned. A revised draft of the City of Austin ban of disposable plastic and paper bags at checkout counters was released Friday. It moves up the date the ban would take effect three years, from January 2016 to January 2013. 


The new draft also requires retailers to charge customers 10 cents per disposable bag - paper or plastic - from June to late December, as a precursor to the outright ban. Under the old draft, retailers would have had to charge 25 cents per disposable bag from January 2013 to late 2015. 


The revised ordinance also expands its ban to cover bags for take -out food from restaurants as well as bags to carry beer, wine and spirits


A city commission will discuss the revised draft Wednesday January 11th. TRA will be live tweeting this hearing. Follow us @TexasRetailers to get updates. 


Austin Resource Recovery, the city department that wrote both ban drafts and oversees trash and recycling, also plans to hold a public meeting Jan. 23 to gather feedback.


Check TRA's Tumblr feed on the bag ban to read the latest updates and citizen opposition  


If you would like to become more involved on this issue, please contact TRA Director of Communications, Carrie Blanda

Bag Ban News
- Austin American Statesman


- Austin American Statesman


Contact Us

Ronnie Volkening, President 

Joe WIlliams, Vice President Regulatory and Member Services and Texas Food Council Main Contact   

Stephanie Gibson, Vice President of Governmental Affairs 

Anissa Kocian, Director of Operations and Events 

Carrie Blanda, Director of Communications 
 Payroll Tax Holiday Extended for Two Months  

At the end of December, President Obama signed an extension of the payroll tax cut lasting through February 29. The stopgap legislation also extends long-term unemployment benefits through that date. Without this legislative action, employers would have had to revert back to a Social Security Rate of 6.2% on January 1st. It amounts to an average of about $40.00 or so in every paycheck.


It is especially good news for small business owners because it keeps cash in their customer's pockets. There is pressure on Legislators to come up with a full-year tax cut plan when they return from the Interim. 

Texas WIC Program Update: WIC Least Expensive  "Item Specific" Pink Stickers

Click here to read about the regulations regarding labeling of WIC foods. This document also includes examples of labels and links to printable labels. 


Incandescent (Edison) Light Bulb Phase Out Put On Hold


In 2007, Congress passed language as a part of the Department of Energy's new energy efficiency standards to start the phase out of regular incandescent light bulbs that don't conserve energy. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a home's energy use and the standards would save the average home owner more than $100 per year.


While the National Electrical Manufacturers supported the ban and has invested millions in the new light bulbs, the Republicans in Congress have been adamant about lifting the ban because of the increased cost to the consumer. 


The deal that Congress recently struck does not repeal the ban but prevents the Department of Energy from spending any money to implement or enforce the energy efficiency standards for light bulbs.  Essentially, a nine-month reprieve.  Polling indicates most Americans favor the light bulb standards and more than 70% have responded that they have replaced standard light bulbs with more energy efficient options. Only 13% responded that they intended to stockpile the less efficient incandescent bulbs. 


Please let us know if you are aware of another subject or item that may see some type of legislative activity in near future.


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SNAP Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP) Update


The Food, Nutrition & Conservation Act of 2008 (Section 4141) authorized $20 million for pilot projects to evaluate health & nutrition promotion in the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) to determine if incentives provided to SNAP recipients at the point-of-sale increase the purchase of fruits, vegetables or other healthy foods.  FNS refers to this effort as the Healthy Incentive Pilot or HIP.  The pilot site chosen for HIP was Hampden County, Massachusetts. Hampden County is a mix of twenty seven urban, suburban and rural cities and towns with approximately 50,000 SNAP households and average monthly SNAP benefits at approximately $250.00 per household.


HIP addresses the issue of poor diet and inactivity which both lead to issues of obesity in both adults and children. Currently, it is estimated that 66% of adults and 17% of children are overweight and obese. If current trends continue through 2020, treating the consequences of obesity may consume up to 1/5th of health care expenditures.


So HIP is allowing FNS to explore and study the need and outcomes for new and innovative approaches that empower low-income Americans to consume diets that include optimal levels of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy foods. The pilot in Hampden County actually began November 2011 and ends February 2013.


A targeted group of 7500 SNAP Households will participate with the incentive program which can be up to an additional $60.00 in SNAP benefits if up to 30% of their current benefits are used to purchase targeted fruits and vegetables that are either fresh, frozen or canned. A majority of these products are also authorized for WIC Program in Mass. In TX, we only authorized fruit & vegetables in fresh or frozen for WIC Program. Industry &  WIC State Agency chose not to include canned for a number of reasons.


You can follow HIP Pilot updates here


NGA/FMI/FIAE Day In Washington- Register Today!


Want to let those that represent us in Washington DC know what issues are important to you and your business? Join several TRA members who are planning to attend this conference in DC on March 28-29. This trip will include visits with Congressmen like Representative Kevin Brady, Representative Gene Green, Representative John Carter, Representative Louie Gohmert, and many others. 


One day will be spent just visiting Texas Congressional offices. Most attendees will make between 6-8 appointments discussing food industry issues. Details are:


March 28-29, 2012 

L'Enfant Plaza Hotel 

Washington, D.C.


"A Day in Washington" brings senior level retailer and wholesaler executives together with Members of Congress and Administration officials to address public policy issues affecting our industry.


Click here to download the Day In Washington Flyer   

Click here to register online.    

Click here to download the Day In Washington Registration FormĀ