Reps. Courtney, Thompson Introduce School Milk Nutrition Act to Mark the Start of National Dairy Month
WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Congressman Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (PA-15) 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.
“Milk provides the cornerstone of a healthy meal for our nation’s children,” Rep. Courtney said. “It packs valuable nutrients including protein, potassium, and calcium—a solid foundation for building a healthy menu in America’s schools. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a ten percent decline in school milk consumption 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 and provides many significant health benefits,” Rep. Thompson said. “I am proud to join with Rep. Courtney in an effort to reverse the decline of milk consumption in schools throughout Pennsylvania and across the country. 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.
From 2014-2016, schools served 213 million fewer half pints of milk, even though school enrollment was growing. Children over four years-old are not meeting the recommended daily servings of dairy based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Declining milk consumption in schools not only affects students, but negatively affects dairy farms and farm families across the country. Providing students the option to consume low-fat milk with flavor, has the potential to positively affect milk consumption trends while supporting local dairy farmers.
The bipartisan School Milk Nutrition Act of 2019 is commonsense bipartisan legislation that will provide schools with schools with the certainty that they will continue to have the flexibility in providing nutrition milk varieties and maintaining that 1-percent flavored milk offered in schools remain consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
This legislation is strongly supported by the National Milk Producers Federation, International Dairy Foods Association, National Farmers Union, and National Farm Bureau Federation.