Proposed legislation would put more milk back into schools

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glass of milk

WASHINGTON — U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-Pa., have introduced the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2019 — bipartisan legislation to expand milk options for students and reverse the decline of milk consumption in schools.

This legislation reaffirms recent regulation from the U.S. Department of Agriculture by providing schools with the option to serve low-fat milk with flavor and requires that the milk offered to be consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Courtney said milk consumption in schools has dropped 10% in recent years as a result of removing low-fat flavored milk from school menus.

“Our bill will positively impact the quality of children’s diets while supporting our local family dairies.”

“Milk is the No. 1 source of nine essential nutrients in many young American’s diets,” Thompson added. “By codifying what USDA is already allowing, it is my hope that we will witness consumption return to their historic levels with kids enjoying nutritious milk at school.”

In November 2017, the U.S. Department of agriculture announced regulatory changes for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, including a provision that provides schools with the option to serve low-fat, 1-percent flavored milk.

The School Milk Nutrition Act of 2019 will codify this milk provision and will maintain the option for schools to offer low-fat, 1-percent flavored milk if it is consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) support the bill.

A survey of over 300 schools that offered low-fat flavored milk during the 2017-18 school year found that 58% of schools saw an increase in milk sold and 82% of schools found it easy or very easy to include low-fat flavored milk within their overall calorie maximums.

Nearly 99,000 schools and institutions feed 30 million children annually through USDA’s school meal programs.

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