With a goal of increasing milk consumption in schools, the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) are throwing their support behind new legislation introduced this week that focuses on preserving the traditional role of milk with school food programs while complying with the recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).
Known as the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2015, the bill seeks to increase consumption by reaffirming the requirement that milk is offered with each school meal, consistent with current law and the DGA. According to IDFA, the bill also aims to improve the variety and availability of milk served in schools.
“Although milk is the number one source of nine essential nutrients in young Americans’ diets and provides multiple health benefits, children over four years old are not meeting the federal guidance that advises three daily servings of milk or other dairy foods for children nine years and older,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. He noted that from 2012 to 2014, schools served 187 million fewer half-pints of milk, although total public school enrollment grew during that period.
Authorization for the federal child nutrition programs expires at the end of September, and Congress is now beginning the process of reauthorizing the programs, IDFA said.