House Coalition Supports School Milk Options

As the school year ends across the country, a bipartisan coalition of 57 House members asked USDA to ensure that school children have access to low-fat flavored milk as the new school year begins in three months. NMPF worked with letter authors Reps. Joe Courtney (D-CT) and Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) to emphasize the importance of aligning USDA school milk regulations with the recommendations of the brand-new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), the latest of which were finalized by USDA in January.

As with past versions, the DGAs continue to recommend consumption of low-fat and fat-free milk, with allowance for limited amounts of added sugar to these and other nutrient-dense foods.  Accordingly, USDA has the ability under current law to allow schools to serve low-fat flavored milk.  After USDA removed 1% flavored products a decade ago, the option was reinstated as part of a 2018 rulemaking, which then was overturned in court last year on issues unrelated to the dairy provisions.

NMPF was able to preserve the low-fat flavored milk option for the current school year through congressional appropriations but is now working with Congress to bolster this position for the longer term. The letter helps reinforce NMPF’s message and signals that Congress will be closely watching the issue as the Senate and House prepare to take up child nutrition legislation.