NMPF Backs Bipartisan School Nutrition Bill to Codify Current Options
June 11, 2019
NMPF is strongly supporting the bipartisan School Milk Nutrition Act of 2019, which would codify into law current milk varieties that schools may offer and reaffirm the longstanding requirements that milk served in schools be fully consistent with the most recent version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The measure was introduced in the House by Representatives on June 5 by Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA), both senior members of the House Education & Labor Committee, the panel that oversees school nutrition programs. The bill has more than 25 bipartisan cosponsors, including committee members in both parties.
According to the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, American children and adolescents over four years old are not consuming enough dairy to meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations. Milk also provides numerous additional health benefits, including stronger and healthier bones, lower blood pressure, and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
The bipartisan legislation does not expand the varieties of milk that may be offered in schools but codifies current options into law to provide certainty to schools and school districts and ensure that future generations of milk drinkers are introduced early on to healthy, nutritious dairy products that they will want to drink.
Milk is the leading food source of nine essential nutrients in children’s diets, including calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. 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.
NMPF looks forward to working with Reps. Courtney and Thompson to work to include this measure in the upcoming child nutrition reauthorization legislation, which Congress is expected to act upon this session.