USDA program keeps extra COVID-era money for fruits, veggies

U.S. agriculture officials have proposed changes to the federal program that helps pay the grocery bills for low-income mothers and young children. The update announced Thursday keeps a bump in payments for fresh fruits and vegetables allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Changes to the program known as WIC also would allow more whole grains, canned fish, canned beans and non-dairy milk substitutes. Officials said it would give shoppers more flexibility at the supermarket. About 6.2 million people participate in the program at a cost to the federal government of about $5 billion a year.