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Making School Lunches Great Again: Toomey Introduces Bill Allowing Schools to Offer Whole Milk to Kids

June 12, 2019
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Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) has introduced the Milk in Lunches for Kids (MILK) Act to allow schools to serve whole milk and two percent milk.

The MILK Act also requires the Secretary of Agriculture to revise regulations to exclude milk fat from the cap on saturated fat in school lunches. Currently, schools may only serve fat free or one percent milk with lunches.

"Every parent knows milk does a body good," said Senator Toomey. "In 2010, the Obama Administration and Congress erred in prohibiting whole milk and two percent from being served in schools. This decision has led to a sharp decline in consumption across the country, which means kids are not getting essential nutrients milk provides. This measure fixes that error and permits schools to sell whole and two percent milk once again."

Senator Toomey's MILK Act is being co-sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and has earned the support of the following organizations:

  • Pennsylvania Farm Bureau
  • Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association
  • Pennsylvania Association of Milk Dealers
  • International Dairy Foods Association

"Pennsylvania Farm Bureau is pleased to support Senator Toomey's MILK Act that provides increased flexibility to include two-percent and whole milk in school meal programs," said Pennsylvania Farm Bureau President Rick Ebert.

"The Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association strongly believes school children once again should have the option to choose whole milk in schools. Recent and emerging dietary research has shown that whole milk nutrition is essential for the healthy development of our growing children. The Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association applauds the leadership of Senator Toomey to provide school children with the nutrition and great satisfaction of delicious whole milk," said Pennsylvania Dairymen's Association Executive Director David Smith.

"Giving our kids the opportunity to drink a glass of nutritious milk with breakfast and lunch each day is one of the best things we can do for their health and development. Our IDFA members are grateful to Senator Toomey for introducing this bill to allow schools more flexibility to offer the same types of milk that children and teens enjoy at home. Providing expanded milk options helps ensure students get the nine essential nutrients that milk uniquely provides, including powerful protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium," said International Dairy Foods Association and President Michael Dykes.

"Dairy producers across the state are very concerned that we are losing an entire generation of milk drinkers and the nutrition milk provides to growing children due to the less appealing skim and low-fat milk currently being served. Senator Toomey's proposal goes a long way in addressing this concern," said Somerset County Dairy Farmer Glenn Stoltzfus.

Background

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 all milk available in schools must be fat free. Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a rule that allowed schools to receive waivers to make one percent milk available to students.