WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dairy leaders applaud the House Education and Workforce Committee for including key dairy provisions in the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016, which was approved today by the committee. A bipartisan amendment by Congressmen G.T. Thompson (R-PA) and Joe Courtney (D-CT), specifically targeted at addressing declining school milk consumption, was unanimously approved.
“Fluid milk consumption in schools has declined in recent years, and in fact most Americans are drinking less milk than recommended by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA),” said J. David Carlin, senior vice president of legislative affairs and economic policy at the International Dairy Foods Association. “The fact that the school milk provisions have bipartisan support in this bill is an indication of how important it is to promote better consumption of milk by the nation’s students.”
“This bill takes an important step toward reversing the decline in school milk consumption by asking USDA to examine how to ensure that kids are getting enough milk,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “By better aligning the school lunch program with the dietary guidelines, options including 1% flavored milk will be back on the lunch tray in school cafeterias as a result of this legislation.”
The dairy organizations voiced their support for the Thompson-Courtney amendment in a joint letter sent Tuesday to Reps. John Kline and Robert Scott – the committee chair and ranking member, respectively – of the House Education Committee.
That amendment bolsters recommendations made in the DGA, released earlier this year, which says current laws should continue to make milk integral to all the child nutrition programs. It also requires adjustments as necessary to promote better consumption of milk by the nation’s students and to permit schools to offer all varieties consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The bill also provides innovative approaches to meet the needs of lactose-intolerant children.
“Milk and other healthy dairy foods have always been integral to child nutrition programs, from school lunches and breakfasts to Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and other programs that serve our youth and vulnerable, at-risk populations,” the letter said. “As the expert advisory panel on the DGA stated, “Consumption of dairy foods provides numerous health benefits, including lower risk of diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and obesity. Along with dairy’s long-established role in promoting bone health, reducing the risk of insidious chronic diseases and conditions demonstrates why milk is offered with every school meal and dairy foods are prominent parts of other nutrition assistance programs.”
The bill will now move to consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives.