Thompson, Peterson Introduce Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019
WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson (D-MN) have introduced a bill to allow for unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered in school cafeterias.
H.R. 832, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019 recognizes the importance of milk to the health and well-being of growing children. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue directed USDA to allow schools to serve 1 percent flavored milk in school meal programs. H.R. 832 would allow whole milk to be included as well.
“Milk is the No. 1 source of nine essential nutrients in the diets of our students, but if they don’t drink it these health benefits are lost,” Rep. Thompson said. “Milk consumption has been declining in schools throughout the nation because kids are not consuming the varieties of milk being made available to them. It is my hope that the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act will bring a wider range of milk options to American lunchrooms so students can choose the kind they love best.”
“I’m proud to join Congressman Thompson in this effort that will provide more choices for nutritious and healthy milk to kids in schools, and a valuable market for dairy farmers in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and nationwide at a time when they’re continuing to face extremely difficult market conditions,” Chairman Peterson said.
Agriculture Committee Republican Leader Mike Conaway (R-TX), Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rep. John Joyce (R-PA), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA), Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
BACKGROUND ON MILK IN SCHOOLS
In 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which amended nutrition standards in the School Lunch Program. Among the changes, the law mandated that flavored milk must be fat free within the program.
This law, along with lower participation in the program, led to an alarming decline in milk consumption in schools since 2010. Declining milk consumption in schools not only impacts students, but also dairy farm families and rural communities across the nation.
To help encourage nutritious options in the School Lunch Program and increase consumption, Rep. Thompson introduced legislation – H.R. 4101, the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017 – which provided schools the option to serve 1% flavored milk varieties.
In May of 2017, the USDA announced a rule that allowed schools to receive waivers for low-fat (1%) flavored milk, rather than only fat-free, which is the essence of H.R. 4101.
On January 29, 2019, Rep. Thompson introduced H.R. 832, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019. This legislation builds on the previous bill and USDA’s rule by allowing whole milk (both unflavored and flavored) to be offered within the School Lunch Program.